Trinidad and Tobago footballers put up a forceful early second half performance but still lost 1-0 at the semi-final stage to tournament favourites Canada in a 2014 Concacaf Under-15 Girls Championship semi-final on Friday night at Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Cayman Islands.
Now playing for third spot this evening, the Soca Princesses will have a replay against Honduras, who they beat 2-0 at the group stage, while Canada play the gold medal match against a very physical Haiti, who won the second semi-final 2-0 over Honduras. Haiti and Canada drew 1-1 in the preliminary round and also ended level on seven points.
Having scored 20 goals earlier in the tournament, Canada managed just one against the Soca Princesses, who dominated the first quarter-hour of both halves, with Canada well in control of the rest of the match.
Overall, T&T had 11 shots at goal, outshooting the Canadians (nine), who had long spells of possession, without creating many clear chances.
Canada scored with their very first attack, a shot from outside the 18-yard box which dipped over T&T goalkeeper Klil Keshwar and gave Anyssa Ibrahim her fifth tournament goal in the 15th minute. The Canadians then settled down to dictate the rest of the first half.
But T&T came out fighting in the second session, and forced the Canadians deep for the first 20 minutes, before tiring near the end. T&T had three good chances to equalise within a seven-minute period.
Standout midfielder Arianna Campbell struck the woodwork with a shot from outside the penalty area with Canadian goalie Lysianne Proulx well beaten, and Alexis Fortune also forced the keeper to push, as another long-range shot headed to the corner.
Likewise, Germany-based defender Amaya Ellis put a free-kick just wide. Clearly rattled Canada made three changes within a quarter-hour, and eventually regained composure. As the Soca Princess grew tired late on, Canada came close to a second goal, when a low shot scraped past the far post.
“We defended our result and in tournaments you have to do that,” Canadian coach Beverly Priestman said in a post match interview after. “The tightness of the tournament showed tonight.”
2014 CONCACAF U-15 GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIS:
6.30 p.m. - 3rd Place: T&T v Honduras,Truman Bodden Sports Complex, Cayman
8.45 p.m. Final: Haiti v Cabada, Truman Bodden Sports Complex, Cayman
CANADA 1 (Anyssa Ibrahim 15th) TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 0
HAITI 2 (Nerilia Mondesir 4th & 70th) HONDURAS 0
Trinidad and Tobago head-coach Rajesh Latchoo was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We knew it was going to be difficult and maybe a lot of people expected us to get hammered by Canada which has a far advanced programme and they are a giant in women’s football, but we showed a lot of courage and ability to compete at this level. I’m proud of the girls,” he told TTFA Media.
“We tried to give the team best preparation possible within the resources that were available to us and it showed clearly that there was some value coming out of it. We were four games unbeaten and we posed a decent challenge against a team like Canada which augers well for local women’s football. This team will definitely continue to prepare and be kept together for the next Under 17 World Cup campaign,” Latchoo added.