FOUR extra-time goals gave Costa Rica a come-from-behind 7-3 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the third place playoff at the 2014 Concacaf Under-20 Women’s Championship last night at Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Cayman Islands.
Substitutes Nicole Araya (94th, 96th) scored twice, Katheryn Arroyo (115th minute) got another and Mariana Benavidez (120th minute) struck a long-range free-kick, all in extra-time, as Costa Rica rallied to beat a dead tired Trinidad and Tobago team, which held a 2-0 lead in the first half.
The Caribbean team was just five minutes away from qualifying for a FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time, when another Costa Rican substitute, Michelle Montero, capitalised on a defensive slip and put a low shot past T&T keeper Keri Myers in the 85th minute to end the regulation period in a 3-3 draw.
Costa Rica join already qualified United States and Mexico, who played the final later last night. A semi-finalist for the first time, Trinidad and Tobago finished fourth.
Led by two first half goals from captain Anique Walker, the T&T Soca Princesses led 3-1 at the half before Costa Rica rallied forcefully.
Walker (16th, 28th) gave Trinidad and Tobago a two-goal advantage in the first half hour, before right midfielder Daphne Herera took advantage of Jonelle Warrick’s weak clearance to pull Costra Rica back in the match at 2-1 in the 34th minute.
After a period of Costa Rica domination, the tide shifted again when T&T midfielder Khadisha Debesette beat Costa Rica keeper Mareiela Vasquez in the 42nd minute to make it 3-1 with a dipping volley from outside the penalty area.
Both Walker and Debesette were members of the Trinidad and Tobago team which hosted the 2010 Under-17 World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago had never previously reached a Concacaf age-group women’s semi-final.
Defender Yesmi Rodriguez later found the far corner on the second attempt to pull Costa Rica closer at 3-2 in the 71st minute, before Montero tied the match at 3-3.
With Costa Rica in full flight, Araya netted from inside the penalty area for a 4-3 lead in the 94th minute and two minutes later found the corner with a speculative chip to the top corner.
Physically imposing over their opponents, Trinidad and Tobago dominated the opening quarter-hour, despite surviving an early Costa Rica chance in the 10th minute through Gloriana Villalobos, who shrugged off T&T left-back Daniella Findlay, but could not pick out a teammate.
T&T took the lead when Walker found the corner with a low shot after being set up by right midfielder Shennel Henry and got her second when powerfully heading in a cross into the box, despite keeper Vasquez getting a touch.
Between Walker’s goals, T&T’s Patrice Campbell shaved the foot of the post with a low shot after stealing the ball from a defender.
Herera got Costa Rica closer at 2-1 by getting past both Findlay and goalkeeper Myers, but only scored when Warrick’s weak clearance went straight back at the Costa Rican attacker.
The Soca Princesses, though, were back in front again when Debesette’s 22-metre volley spectacularly dipped into the top of the net.
Costa Rica pressed early in the second half and forced a couple of good saves from T&T keeper Myers.
Trinidad and Tobago came close to scoring again when Campbell had a low shot cleared off the line by Raquel Matarrita in the 63rd minute with the Costa Rica keeper beaten.
Rodriguez and Montero then got late goals against a tiring Trinidad and Tobago squad to tie the match.
Costa Rica dominated the later stages against a very tired T&T team.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:
1-Keri Myers; 8-Daniella Findley (10-Tsaianne Leander 112th), 14-Otisha David, 17-Jonelle Warrwick, 11-Khadidra Debesette , 6-Khadisha Debesette (7- Akilah Sparks, 57th), 3-Liana Hines, 9-Patrice Campbell (15 -Donika Murray, 75th), 4-Brianna Ryce, 13-Shenelle Henry, 19-Anique Walker (capt.)
Subs: 2-Tkeyah Phillips, 12-Shanisa Camejo ,7-Akilah Sparks,18-Emma Abdul, 15-Donika Murray,10-Tsaianne Leander, 20-Tenesha Palmer, 16-Summer Arjoon, 82)
Head Coach: Izler Browne