New Grenadian signing Kirthson Bain added some individual punch going forward, but a leaky backline did not serve Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA well against Toluca in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) on Wednesday night.
Caledonia suffered the second highest margin of defeat in the competition this season when going down 5-1 to the Mexicans at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
Caledonia have conceded a total of 14 goals in their last four matches. Toluca put in eight, including a 3-1 first round victory. The 2012 Caribbean champions lost their other two matches 3-0, to Guatemala’s Comunicaciones and Pro League opponents North East Stars.
Wednesday’s defeat was the third for Caledonia in the CCL. They will not move forward in the competition, and will play a final match, away to Comunicaciones, on September 25, before exiting at the group stage for the second straight year.
“I won’t write off Caledonia. I think we are going through a difficult period,” stated head-coach Jamaal Shabazz. “We are outplayed in all departments. Toluca really stepped it up on us and we were not effectively able to apply pressure. They always seem to have time on the ball.”
Against Toluca, Caledonia conceded two tap-in goals from striker Raúl Nava, as well as two shots from the top of the penalty box which Grenadian keeper Shemel Louison failed to properly deal with. And Cali central defender Nuru Muhammed headed in an own-goal when trying to cut out a cross ball.
Nava opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a back post tap-in, after midfielder Edy Brambila retrieved the rebound from an earlier shot and accurately picked Nava out. Muhammad then inadvertently, but perfectly, put his header inside the far corner in the 27th with his keeper hopelessly beaten. Brambila gave Toluca a third goal in the 40th with a low shot from atop the six-yard box.
The Mexicans were making a meal of the local side.
But, it might have been a different story. With the Mexicans enjoying a two-goal lead, Jamaal Gay’s flick put Bain behind Toluca goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, but the Grenadian striker rolled a low shot inches wide, under pressure from the keeper.
Bain is no stranger to Trinidad and Tobago, having poisoned this country’s 2008 Caribbean Cup ambitions with a wicked opening goal when Grenada beat T&T 2-1 to knock them out of the competition.
The robust forward marked his AIA debut with a goal in the opening minute of the second half, but by then the damage had already been done. Bain took his goal well, scoring with a low shot from six yards out after Gay again got the ball into his path.
“I think he (Bain) will be a force for us in the Pro League this season,” Shabazz said. “But he needs to be a bit fitter for CONCACAF football.”
Toluca continued to enjoy dangerous moments, and got further goals through Nava (66th) and substitute Zinha (71st)—both coming from shots just atop the box which Louison would have been expected to gather. Under pressure, he dropped the first at the feet of Nava, who had a second tap-in of the match. And Brazilian substitute Zinha’s left-footer from the edge of the penalty box also got through the sprawled Caledonia custodian.
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RESULT
TOLUCA 5 (Raúl Nava López 17th & 66th, Edy Brambila 40th, Zinha 71st, own goal— Nuru Muhammad 27th), Caledonia AIA 1 (Kithson Bain 46th)
GROUP 6 STANDINGS
P W D L F A GD PTS
Toluca 3 3 0 0 10 3 +7 9
Comunicaciones 2 1 0 1 4 2 +2 3
Caledonia AIA 3 0 0 3 2 11 -9 0
CALEDONIA AIA: 1. Shemel Louison (G); 2. Aubrey David; 3. Nuru A Muhammad; 6. Marcus Ambrose; 5. Akeem Thomas; 21. Densill Theobald; 20. Noel Williams (17. Akim Armstrong - 63rd); 7. Stephan David; 27. Nathan Lewis (25. Keron Bethelmy - 72nd); 23. Jamaal Gay (9. Keyon Edwards - 66th); 18. Kirthson Bain
Unused Substitutes: 33 Glenroy Samuel (G); 12. Kareem Joseph; 22. Miguel A Romeo; 11. Abdallah Phillips.
Head coach: Jamaal Shabazz.
1. Alfredo Talavera (G); 11. Carlos Esquivel (16. Oscar R Rojas García - 70th); 13. Héctor Acosta Quintero; 20. Miguel Á Almazán Quiróz; 3. Fausto M Pinto; 18. Xavier I Baez; 19. Edy G Brambila (10. Zinha - 55th); 15. Antonio Ríos Martínez (5. Wilson Tiago -74th); 26. Erbin A Trejo Macías; 25. Daniel González Vega; 29. Raúl Nava López
Unused Substitutes: 22 César A Lozano (G); 4. Paulo C Da Silva; 9. Juan C Cacho; 23. Edgar Benítez
Head coach: José S Cardozo
REFEREE: Valdin Legister