Jones strikes twice as T&T celebrates OSN Cup third place over Saudi Arabia

T&T vs Saudi ArabiaTrinidad and Tobago stunned host nation Saudi Arabia with two early goals and a late item to capture third place at the OSN Cup 2013 by way of a spirited 3-1 victory at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Monday.

A double strike by captain and Stoke City forward Kenwyne Jones, finding the net in the 4th and 6th minutes, gave T&T the dream start. And an 87thminute item by Notts County midfielder Andre Boucaud sealed the win for the “Soca Warriors” after the home side threatened to level the scores at one time by pulling a goal back in the 47th minute.

The victory was T&T’s first over the four-time World Cup finalists in four outings and a well deserved one of that.

“I’m pleased for the players because they’ve worked hard to get the result,” Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach Stephen Hart told TTFA Media following his second victory in six games since taking the post in June.

“I have a bit of mixed feelings, bitter sweet really because I thought we went to sleep a bit after the second goal and we allowed them (Saudi Arabia) to force themselves back into the game and we made the game harder for ourselves.

“We played some really nice stuff early, moving the ball and penetrating well. But mentally we seemed to just lose concentration and our ball possession was poor at times as well as our decision making was rushed. We made too many errors because we were trying too hard to win a game that we were already supposed to be in control of. But overall it’s a really good result for us moving forward.”

Willis Plaza, Kevin Molino, goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and defender Sheldon Bateau were all part of Hart’s starting lineup on Monday and got the super start needed.

T&T vs Saudi ArabiaJones got his first in the fourth minute by clinically side footing a Robert Primus return ball on the left to beat goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf into the far corner for a 1-0 score.

The home team could hardly settle before Jones cushioned T&T with a 2-0 score two minutes later with his third goal overall in the OSN Cup.

A brilliant lob from 30 metres out by Jones was too much for goalkeeper Almuaiouf winning possession of a ball played back by Yousef Alsalem.

“I thought we did well as a team to grind out a result,” said Jones, who was replaced by midfielder Marcus Joseph after picking up a knock to the ankle in the 39th minute. “We got a good start with the two early goals but the game was never an easy one especially as the officials decided that t hey would make life harder for us on the night. But I’m happy with the way we stuck together and we’ve shown some really good progress as a team.

“Hopefully we can continue to build on this because we want to see the country’s football progress and we will continue to do our part on the pitch.”

Saudi Arabia got more involved as the game progressed and created some opportunities of their own but solid defending by the T&T backline and a couple great stops by goalkeeper Phillip kept T&T in front.

Jones’ replacement, Joseph, went close to increasing T&T’s lead in the second half when his thunderous free kick crashed off the crossbar.

But the Saudis caused some panic for T&T when they pulled a goal back in the 47th minute. Naif Hazazi headed home on the far post after Yahia Alsheri swung a free kick over from the left.

Hart later introduced Densill Theobald and Ataulla Guerra but it was Boucaud who finished off the Saudis three minutes from time.

T&T vs Saudi ArabiaAfter an exchange of passes with Molino and Lester Peltier, the English-born midfielder moved goal-wards and cleverly slipped past Saudi captain Ahmed Ateef before burying a low left footer into the left corner to spark the celebrations among the T&T contingent which included a dozen T&T nationals in the stands.

Saudi Arabian referee Jameel Juma Mohamed seemed to be intent on making the game harder for T&T, issuing as many as six yellow cards to the visitors on either side of the break and three to the host team, one of which came in the final minute.

According to the TTFA, New Zealand, which were defeated 2-0 by the United Arab Emrites in the OSN CUP Final, expressed interest in playing the “Warriors” in October. T&T’s home-based members will return to Port of Spain on Thursday following a one night stay over in London.

T&T line up vs Saudi Arabia

 1. Marvin Phillip(G), 3. Justin Hoyte, 6. Radanfah Abu Bakr, 8. Khaleem Hyland (18. Densill Theobald, 75’), 9. Kenwyne Jones, 10. Kevin Molino, 11. Willis Plaza (7. Ataulla Guerra, 82’), 12. Robert Primus, 14. Andre Boucaud, 19. Lester Peltier (5. Kevan George, 87’).

Unused substitutes – 2. Aubrey David, 17. Mekeil Williams, 1. Jan Michael Williams, 22. Glenroy Samuel, 2. Aubrey David (injured), 15. Curtis Gonzales (injured)