PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,CMC – Trinidad and Tobago were left with an uphill task of reaching the CONCACAF Gold Cup after slumping to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Suriname, in the opening game of the Caribbean Football Union qualifying series here Wednesday night.
Following a goalless first half at the Ato Boldon Stadium, the hosts fell behind in the 76th minute through a Guno Kwasie strike but equalized five minutes later thanks to a Tyrone Charles bombshell.
With all to play for in added extra time, Ivanildo Rozenblad netted in the first period to break Trinidad’s hearts, and leave their qualification hanging by a thread.
“We knew it would not have been an easy game. In football there are no easy games,” head coach Tom Saintfiet told a post-game media conference. “I think for the first 70 minutes we played in a good organization and could create a lot of opportunities from there. If you count the amount of corners we had and the danger we create out of these corners, it was quite a lot. The only problem is we didn’t score out of these chances.”
T&T suffered a blow prior to kick off when striker Cornell Glen was injured during warm-up and ruled out of the contest. However, the hosts had the better of the exchanges in the first half but failed to really seriously threaten the Suriname goal.
Akeem Roach, in for the injured Glen, produced a long-range shot in the 30th minute but this was easily handled low down by goalkeeper Claidel Kohinor.
On the stroke of half-time, Roach sprayed a pass to Nathan Lewis on the right wing just outside the 18-yard box, and he picked out Hashim Arcia who failed to control the ball in a dangerous position just in front of goal.
Against the run of play, T&T almost conceded just seconds before half-time when 19-year-old Sorencio Juliaans forced a diving save out of goalkeeper Adrian Foncette.
On resumption, T&T were further rattled when Dimitrie Apai struck the woodwork in the 54th minute, after being set up by Juliaans. Charles and Hughtun Hector then came close to opening the scoring but it was Suriname who poked their noses in front through Kwasie’s deflected effort, from just outside the 18-yard box.
T&T were back level in the 81st minute, however, when Charles produced a brilliant curling free kick from 25 yards out to leave Kohinor with absolutely no chance. The equalizing goal injected new fervour into T&T’s game but they failed to come up with the winner inside the 90 minutes.
In added time, Suriname found the killer blow in the 109th minute when 71st minute substitute Rozenblad got free from his marker, pivoted five yards outside the box and fired a long range, right-footed volley which beat Foncette all ends up.
T&T clash with French Caribbean side Haiti in the final game of the series on Sunday at the same venue. The winner of the qualifying series will face the fifth placed side from Central America in another playoff which will determine the final place at this July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup in United States.