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Garcia stars on debut as T&T outlasts SVG
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Action from the World Cup qualifier between host St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago (red jersey on March 25, 2016, in Kingstown. (Photo: Caribbean Action Images)

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent & the Grenadines -- Levi Garcia came off the bench to score two goals and drive Trinidad & Tobago (2W-1D-0L, 7 points) to 3-2 victory over host St. Vincent & the Grenadines (0-0-3, 0) on Friday at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

The result – coupled with a 2-0 win for Guatemala (2-0-1, 6) against the visiting United States (1-1-1, 4) later in the evening -- lifted the Soca Warriors into first place in Group C.

In his international debut, Garcia scored the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute, beating goalkeeper Lemus Christopher off a ball delivered over the defense by Neveal Hackshaw.

The 18-year-old AZ Alkmaar standout gave T&T a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute, only six minutes after he entered the game as Daniel Cyrus’ replacement. Garcia picked up a pass from Kenwyne Jones, raced towards the goal and -- after taking on defender Akeem Williams -- blasted a shot past Christopher.

Six minutes later, SVG was back on level terms. Jarrel McMaster played a diagonal ball to the left for Anderson, who slipped a pass for Shandel Samuel to hit home from close range.

SVG took a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute, when Myron Samuel converted a penalty kick after T&T goalkeeper Marvin Phillip was ruled to have fouled David Pitt inside the penalty box.

Joevin Jones leveled in the 57th minute, curling a stunning right-sided corner kick directly into the net.

The sides will meet again on Tuesday at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.

NOTES:

  • Trinidad & Tobago improved to 2-0-0 in two away 2018 World Cup qualifiers … St. Vincent & the Grenadines has conceded 2 goals or more in seven 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
 
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