Beat Saudis for 3rd place in OSN Cup
Trinidad and Tobago stunned host nation Saudi Arabia with two early goals to capture third place at the OSN Cup 2013 by way of a spirited 3-1 victory at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh yesterday.
A double strike by captain Kenwyne Jones in the fourth and sixth minutes gave T&T a dream start and an 87th minute item by Notts County midfielder Andre Boucaud sealed the win for the “Soca Warriors” after the home side threatened to level the scores after pulling a goal back in the 47th minute.
This victory was T&T’s first over the four-time World Cup finalists in four outings.
“I’m pleased for the players because they’ve worked hard to get the result,” coach Stephen Hart told TTFA Media following his second victory in six games since taking over the job as head coach in June.
“I have a bit of mixed feelings, bittersweet really because I thought we went to sleep a bit after the second goal and we allowed them (Saudi Arabia) to force themselves back into the game and we made the game harder for ourselves.
“We played some really nice stuff early, moving the ball and penetrating well. But mentally we seemed to just lose concentration and our ball possession was poor at times as well as our decision-making was rushed. We made too many errors because we were trying too hard to win a game that we were already supposed to be in control of. But overall it’s a really good result for us moving forward,” Hart added.
Jones was a proud captain.
“I thought we did well as a team to grind out a result,” he said. “We got a good start with the two early goals but the game was never an easy one especially as the officials decided that they would make life harder for us on the night. But I’m happy with the way we stuck together and we‘ve shown some really good progress as a team.”
“Hopefully we can continue to build on this because we want to see the country’s football progress and we will continue to do our part on the pitch,” added the Stoke City man.
Hart used Willis Plaza and Kevin Molino as well as defender Sheldon Bateau in his starting XI for the game, and it paid dividends as Plaza’s hustle in the final third of the field made things uneasy for the Saudis. Goalkeeper Marvin Phillip also came in for Jan Michael Williams.
On four minutes, Jones received a return ball from Robert Primus on the left and clinically side-footed the ball into the right corner of the net to put T&T ahead 1-0. That was Jones’ second goal for T&T in as many games and Primus’ second assist in the two OSN Cup matches.
The home team could hardly settle before Jones doubled T&T’s advantage with a brilliant lob over goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf from about 30 metres out as he ran on to win possession of a ball played back by Yousef Alsalem.
Saudi Arabia got more involved as the game progressed and created some opportunities of their own but solid defending by the T&T backline and a couple great stops by Phillip denied them.
T&T lost Jones in the 39th minute after he received a kick to the ankle and was replaced by Marcus Joseph who went close to increasing T&T’s lead in the second half when his thunderous free kick crashed off the crossbar.
Saudi Arabia caused some panic for T&T when they pulled a goal back in the 47th minute. Naif Hazazi headed home at the far post after Yahia Alsheri swung a free kick over from the left following a foul after Khaleem Hyland lost possession atop the T&T penalty box.
But T&T stayed in the game with the introduction of Densill Theobald and Ataulla Guerra. Eventually Boucaud finished off the Saudis after an exchange of passes with Kevin Molino and Lester Peltier, the English-born midfielder cleverly moving past Saudi captain Ahmed Ateef and burying a low left footer into the left corner of the net to spark celebrations among the T&T contingent which included a dozen T&T nationals in the stands.
T&T will now look ahead to the remaining FIFA international dates for 2013 with already New Zealand expressing interest in playing Hart’s men in October. T&T’s home-based members will return to Port of Spain on Thursday following a one night stopover in London.
In yesterday’s final, United Arab Emirates , who defeated T&T 7-6 on penalty kicks last Thursday, captured the Cup with a 2-0 victory over New Zealand.