Trinidad battles back, but falls to UAE on penalties

Trinidad & Tobago poses for a team photo before the opening whistle of its OSN Cup game against the United Arab Emirates on September 5, 2013, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo courtesy of TTFA Media)


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Trinidad & Tobago rallied from a three-goal deficit, but fell 7-6 on penalty kicks to the United Arab Emirates after a 3-3 draw on Thursday in the opening match of the 2013 OSN Cup at the King Fahd International Stadium.


The Soca Warriors will now meet host Saudi Arabia, which lost 1-0 to New Zealand, in Monday’s third-place match.


The UAE took a 2-0 lead into the half thanks to a header by Ismail Mohamed and a long-range strike by Ali Ahmed Alhajeri in the 8th and 40th minutes, respectively.


Striker and team captain Kenwyne Jones nearly pulled one back for Trinidad early in the second half. 


The UAE, though, made it 3-0 in the 54th minute, when Omar Alamoudi played a clever ball into the box for Ahmed Aljunaibi to hit past goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams in the 54th to push UAE 3-0 in front.

Two minutes later, substitute Willis Plaza found the target with his first touch, netting on a header off Lester Peltier’s cross from the right.


In the 87th minute, Plaza was taken down in the box and Jones clinically converted on the resulting penalty kick to make 3-2.


Orlando City’s Kevin Molino, who arrived in Saudi Arabia at 7 a.m. the day of the game, completed the comeback by heading home Robert Primus’ left-sided delivery one minute into stoppage time.

The game proceeded straight to penalty kicks, where the UAE came out on top.


“I’m pleased with the fact that we scored goals and we showed a desire to come back from 3-0 nothing,” said Trindad head coach Stephen Hart.  “That in itself is something we can take from this game and build on.”


Hart and his team will have a chance to continue the building process on Monday against a Saudi Arabia, a nation it has not met since 1998.