CHELSEA, Trinidad and Tobago’s representatives at the regional finals of the 2014 Guinness Street Football Challenge, made a blistering start towards the host nation’s bid to defend their regional title by posting two emphatic wins at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain on Friday.
Competing in Group A along with Jamaica, St Vincent and Antigua and Barbuda, the T&T boys blanked their Jamaican counterparts 3-0 in their opening fixture to set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Captain Dwayne Ramasray gave T&T the lead in the first minute when he spotted an opening and nonchalantly shot home between two defenders. Striker Kerry Joseph made it 2-0 three minutes later after a shot on goal rebounded off the upright for him to flick the ball into the net. He would add the third item in the fifth minute when he won possession in front of Jamaica’s goal and calmly converted the opportunity.
Jamaica tried desperately to claw their way back into the match but conceding three goals early in the first half knocked the fight out of them.
Next up, T&T took on Antigua, who had posted a 1-0 win over St Vincent in their opening fixture, and the local lads were even more clinical.
Joseph almost notched the opening item in the second minute but his shot crashed onto the crossbar.
Jerwyn Balthazar would open T&T’s account with a strike in the fourth minute and Ramasray made it 2-0 on the next foray forward a minute later, after a build up by Antigua was thwarted.
Joseph was again denied by the woodwork in the fifth minute of the match but he made amends a minute later when he worked his way forward to score between two defenders.
At this point the rain was pouring down but it did not hamper T&T’s progression as Ramasray turned provider in the 11th minute.
He skilfully took the ball down, held off his marker well and split two defenders with a near-perfect pass to Balthazar just on the left of goal. The lanky player hit a rasping one-time shot that flew into the back of the net for T&T’s fourth item.
T&T have almost assured themselves of a berth in the semi-final round as it would have taken a huge loss to St Vincent and Antigua winning big against Jamaica in the final round robin fixtures in the group to deny them.
The only other team to play unbeaten on the evening was Guyana, who eked out 2-1 and 1-0 victories over St Kitts & Nevis and St Lucia respectively.
Stephen Alfred (third) and James Meredith (ninth) were on target in the win against St Kitts while Alfred notched the lone item in the contest with St Lucia.
In other results on the evening, St Vincent edged Jamaica 1-0; St Lucia beat Dominica 2-1; and St Kitts earned a 3-1 win against Dominica in a penalty shootout after the match ended 1-1 in regulation time.