PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-20s booked their berth in the CONCACAF final round qualifiers on Monday when they beat Suriname 2-1 in the return leg of their Caribbean Football Union Group D tie at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
Following a goalless first half, Johan Peltier and Sheldon Bateau scored in the second half to set up the victory, with Dimitrie Apai scoring in the 90th minute as a consolation for the visitors.
T&T won 4-2 on aggregate following a similar 2-1 win in Paramaribo two weeks ago, and will now join fellow CFU qualifiers Jamaica, Cuba and Guadeloupe in the CONCACAF finals from April 3-17 next year.
Central Americans El Salvador, hosts Guatemala, Honduras and Panama will also contest the finals along with the North American trio of Canada, Mexico and United States.
The hosts threatened from as early as the 15th minute when Joe Public midfielder Marcus Joseph dragged his left footer wide of the right post as T&T surged forward.
Suriname responded with a healthy try at goal in the 24th minute when Dania Afianko’s left footed crack went wide of the upright.
Thirteen minutes after the break, T&T took the lead as Peltier picked his spot and directed his shot past a hapless Firilio Lamsberg to the delight of the partisan fans.
T&T then doubled their advantage two minutes later when Bateau met a ball unmarked on the right of the box and drilled his effort low into the net.
Jerrel Britto, a half-time substitute, almost extended the lead in the 70th minute but Lamsberg reacted quickly to push the striker’s blast over the bar.
Suriname came close to their opener in the 86th minute when Dimitrie Apai breached the T&T defence but his close range shot was well pushed away by goalkeeper John Thomas.
Suriname continued to press, however, and were rewarded with a goal in added time when Apai stabbed home from close range.