Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Warriors outplayed


Buenos Aires battle: Trinidad and Tobago’s Sheldon Bateau, left, and Argentina’s Federico Fernandez, right, vie for the ball during their international friendly in Buenos Aires, Argentina, yesterday. —Photo: AP

Mark Fraser

Trinidad and Tobago were outclassed and outplayed as they went down 3-0 to Argentina in their international friendly last evening at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Kenwyne Jones-skippered national team played a defensive game in the first half that managed to frustrate Lionel Messi and company.

But even with a defensive posture, T&T benefitted from lax finishing by the home team that prevented the Albicelestes (sky blue and whites) from going on the scoresheet until time added on at the end of the first half.

Between that time gap, the Argentines still created and squandered many chances as their passing game and skill on the ball forced the T&T team deep into their own half in a match played in front of a 70,000-plus partisan crowd.

Jones cut a solitary figure up front while the rest of coach Stephen Hart’s men tried to maintain their defensive discipline and rode their luck, including when an Angel Di Maria left-footed shot in the T&T 18-yard box veered wide afterMessi’s incisive pass around the T&T defence in the 18th minute.

Jones got the best T&T chance of the game at the half hour mark when he failed to get off a shot from the top centre of the Argentine penalty area from an Atullah Guerra flick-on,

In the ensuing right-side counterattack, Messi missed from close range with just goalkeeper Jan-Michael WIlliams to beat.

But after a few more scuffed opportunities, Argentina got the breakthrough.

From a left side corner in time added on Rodrigo Palacio climbed high and his glancing downward header was fumbled by keeper Williams and the ball fell across the goalline.

Messi and company asserted their dominance early in the second half from a free kick at the top left hand side of the penalty area. Messi struck the upright and the ball landed kindly in the path of Javier Mascherano who stretched out his foot to slot home after 51 minutes.

And Argentina substitute Maxi Rodriguez closed out the scoring in the 61st minute.

A more settled Argentine team passed around the ball at will while T&T fought mostly in vain to regain possession of the ball for any sustained period or to any telling effect.