Warriors dump St Lucia: Guerra, Jones on target as T&T qualify for Caribbean Finals

 Ataullah Guerra, left, lets off a curling strike to give Trinidad and Tobago an early lead while team captain Kenwyne Jones looks on during Friday's Caribbean Cup semifinal round clash against St Lucia at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Friday 10 October 2014

Ato Boldon Stadium, TRINIDAD – Central FC midfielder Ataullah Guerra netted early and was involved in another, scored by Cardiff City striker Kenwyne Jones, to earn Trinidad and Tobago a 2-0 win over St Lucia on Friday in their second Group Seven semifinal round match of the 18th Caribbean Cup.

Friday’s win secured the “Soca Warriors” place in next month’s Caribbean Finals, to be hosted in Montego Bay, with hosts Jamaica and defending champions Cuba automatically through to that round.

Trinidad and Tobago, 6-1 winners over Dominican Republic on Wednesday, remained at the top of the Trinidad group with maximum 6 points and must tackle Antigua & Barbuda from 6.15 pm on Sunday at the same venue to close off the semifinal round matches.

“Antigua & Barbuda are very organized,” said Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach Stephen Hart during Friday’s post-game press conference, as he looked ahead to Sunday's game. “They (Antigua & Barbuda) have six or seven players who know what are doing. We have also seen that they leave the best part of their game for the second period.”

Antigua & Barbuda, second with 4 points, defeated St Lucia 2-1 in their opening match on Wednesday but were held goalless by Dominican Republic on Friday.

Dominican Republic, third with just one point, will tackle bottom positioned St Lucia from 4 pm on Sunday at the Couva venue.
Trinidad and Tobago captain and forward Kenwyne Jones, centre, fights off a challenge during Friday's Caribbean Cup semifinal round clash against St Lucia at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Whatever way Sunday’s results should go, Trinidad and Tobago, led by Hart, are guaranteed a place in Jamaica.

The two top teams of each of the three semifinal round groups will join Jamaica and Cuba in the Finals for the Caribbean title, and a place in the 2016 Copa America, which features some of the top nations in South America.

The “Soca Warriors” without Wednesday’s hattrick goalscorer Kevin Molino and again without the services of England-born defender Justin Hoyte, due to passport problems, according to Hart, went ahead early.

Forward (K) Jones, who scored twice against Dominican Republic, utilised his aerial power to head down a pass into Guerra, who controlled at the edge of the area before curling a perfect right-footer into goalkeeper Randy Poleon’s far netting for a 1-0 lead.

St Lucia, captained by 34-year-old former Caledonia AIA defender Sheldon Burton Emmanuel, responded with a neat string of passes in the 11t minute however T&T defender Joevin Jones made a timely stop Magnum Valcin near the six yard area.

Defensive midfielder Tremain Paul, one of a few members of the St Lucia national team that plays for Trinidadian club W Connection in the Pro League, tried his luck from a free-kick in the 27th minute following a foul on Romiel Felix by Khaleem Hyland but the effort failed to threaten goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

Earlier, T&T winger Cordell Cato, who plays for Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Seattle Sounders, gave “Vincy Heat” a scare in the 17th minute when he drifted in from the left and let off a powerful right-footed blast which had to be measured brilliantly by Poleon, who put it wide for a corner.

Poleon was brilliant again three minutes from the break with a point blank to deny Cato after (K) Jones, who lost his footing, failed to make initial contact to a low right side Lester Peltier cross in the middle of the area.

“We were in control of the game,” Hart said. “And when we weren’t in control it was our fault. We were wasteful. We should have been 4-0 up by the end of the first half but all in all I was comfortable with what I saw.”

Following the break Trinidad and Tobago failed to hit the target on two early tries and St Lucia responded with a miss of their own before the 50th minute with Felix flashing an effort across the face of goal from a tight angle.

Joevin Jones, T&T’s Finland-based utility player, joined in the 57th minute by hitting inches wide of Poleon’s far upright from the left of the area.

Then a minute later (K) Jones disappointed the home fans when he casually headed wide of the St Lucia net from two metres out off a well-placed Peltier cross.

"The thing with (K) Jones is that he occupies the minds of who he plays against," Hart said in defence of the T&T captain. "All strikers miss goals."

The England-based (K) Jones redeemed himself in the 67th minute to supply Trinidad and Tobago with the 2-0 cushion.

St Lucia endured a bit of chaos but when the dust cleared the hosts were celebrating another item. Guerra’s effort, from inside the area after St Lucia failed to clear, was pushed by Poleon but only as far as (K) Jones whose header from close up hit the underside of the crossbar before entering the net.

Two minutes earlier goalkeeper Phillip preserved the “Soca Warriors” one-goal advantage with a pointblank save to deny Malik St. Prix. Also a quick release by Emmanuel in the 74th minute set Felix alight down the right but the diminutive winger’s effort crashed into the side netting.

Goalscorer Guerra followed up with two tries that failed to hit the back of the net. The talented midfielder volleyed wide following a favourable bounce inside the area; and moments later he slid in to meet substitute Daneil Cyrus' low cross but sent the ball overbar from the edge of the six-yard area.

During the post-game press conference Peltier, a former San Juan Jabloteh player who is currently enjoying his career in Europe with Slovakia's Slovan Bratislava, said, "We did well and came out with full three points."

Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Cup 2014

Friday’s results at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Trinidad
T&T 2 (Ataullah Guerra 6’, Kenwyne Jones 67’) vs St Lucia 0

Antigua & Barbuda 0 vs Dominican Republic 0

Trinidad and Tobago: 1. Marvin Phillip (GK), 9. Kenwyne Jones (C) (20. Trevin Caesar 75th minute), 3. Joevin Jones (Yellow Card), 4. Sheldon Bateau, 5. Kevan George8. Khaleem Hyland (17. Leston Paul 71st minute), 11. Ataullah Guerra, 13. Cordell Cato, 16. Alvin Jones (Yellow Card) (6. Daneil Cyrus 71st minute), 18. Yohance Marshall, 23. Lester Peltier

Unused substitutes: 7. Hughton Hector, 14. Andre Boucaud, 19. Carlyle Mitchell, 21. Jan-Michael Williams

Coach: Stephen Hart

St Lucia: 1. Randy Poleon (GK), 20. Sheldon Burton Emmanuel (C), 2. Kurt Federick, 4. Perral Williams, 7. Malik St. Prix (6. Eden Charles 73rd minute), 11. Magnum Valcin (8. Everton Lambert 86th minute), 13. Tremain Paul, 14. Lester Joseph (10. Zaeehaeus Polius 37th minute), 16. Jamil Joseph, 17. Romiel Felix, 19. Eric Gabriel,

Unused substitutes: 3. Gervan Janvier, 9. Gerlanne Neptune, 15. Rickson Augustin, 21. Alton Roberts

Coach: Francis Lastic