Prelim Qaulifiers 2: Trinidad and Tobago 1 French Guiana 1 (Trinidad win 8-7 on penalties)
July 6 – Trinidad and Tobago battled their way into the Gold Cup stages with a dramatic 8-7 win on penalties over French Guiana after the score was tied at 1-1 at full time.
Trinidad and Tobago’s heroes were goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup who saved French Guiana’s eighth attempt from Kevin Rimane, and Curtis Gonzales who stuck Trinidad’s eight into the back of the net. It was a penalty shoot-out of the highest quality with Rimane the only player to miss.
Trinidad and Tobago has started the game well, controlling the ball well and looking dangerous going forward through Columbus Crew midfielder Kevin Molino.
It was Molino who put Trinidad and Tobago ahead on 28 minutes. A long build up saw Alvin Jones drive the ball into the right hand post, with it cannoning out to Molino who hit the ball from the edge of the box. It was Molino’s second goal in two games.
On 32 minutes Trinidad could have been two up. Molino floated the ball over the top from to Joseph who takes it on his left foot to put it past French Guiana’s keeper Simon Lugier, only for VAR to rule it out for offside.
French Guiana had ridden their luck and were starting to find their feet. On 44 minutes with Trinidad down to 10 men with captain Khaleem Hyland being treated for an injury French Guiana struck. A ball into the Trinidad box that was going nowhere was headed out by Jelani Peters but straight to Arnold Abelinti to volley back in to the Trinidad net, 1-1.
Having dominated the much of the half Trinidad found themselves going in to half time level and having used two of their three substitution windows.
The second half opened physically. French Guiana’s Alain Moges could have made it 2-1 with a header from a corner that was turned away at the base of the post by Niklas Frenderup.
French Guiana were gathering pace while Trinidad seemed to have lost their rhytmn. Molino, too often isolated in the middle, was getting bullied, while French Guiana’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele almost scored with a shot inside the far post from the right edge, followed by a Rhudy Evans free kick that went just over.
French Guiana did get the ball in the back after it rebounded off Abelinti for Sloan Privat to squeeze past Frenderup. It was ruled offside. Trinidad were wobbling.
Trinidad coach Angus Eve threw on Reon Moore who gave Trinidad more of an attacking threat and ease the defensive pressure.
At the back Aubrey Davies, wearing a face mask after collecting nine stitches from the Monserrat game, brought composure to a defense that too easily lost its shape.
And so penalties. With the first seven from both teams going in, it was left to Frenderup and substitute Gonzales to smash French Guiana’s dreams.
Trinidad and Tobago now head to Arlington, Texas, for their first group game where they will face Mexico.
Out of the frying pan, in to the fire. But a far better way to spend the weekend than heading back to Trinidad and the endless inquisition into the federations administrative shortcomings.
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