COUVA.- Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis played to an intense 1-1 draw in their Group C encounter in CONCACAF Caribbean Women's Qualifying on Friday, setting up an intriguing final day at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad on Sunday.
The result left both teams on seven points but the hosts are ahead on a +thirteen goal difference with St Kitts on a +eleven. Trinidad and Tobago will face Grenada and St Kitts will battle US Virgin Islands in Sunday's final set of matches following which the Group winner will be determined to move on to the CONCACAF Caribbean Final round in July.
St Kitts stunned the home team and their fans at the Ato Boldon when they took a 3rd-minute penalty through Rozel Liburd and they left T&T nervous for long periods as they came close on several occasions but just could not find the equalizing goal. The penalty resulted from a handball offense by Ayana Russell. It took a well taken right-footed free-kick from the edge of the penalty box by captain Tasha St Louis in the 79th minute to get a share of the points.
Before T&T tied it, St Kitts had a chance to double their lead back in the 20th minute when Brittany Lawrence shot just wide after goalkeeper Saundra Baron punched a free kick into her path. T&T would then go on to enjoy more possession and pressured their opponents with a series of attacks but poor finishing let them down along with timely saves by St Kitts Goalkeeper Kyra Dickinson.
"It was a bit emotional really," St Kitts head coach Earl Jones said after the match. "I thought it was a well-fought game. Trinidad are the favorites in the group and we came in here as what you call the underdogs and we decided we were coming here to put up a good fight," Jones told CONCACAF.com
"We give it our best. This team has been together for less than a month and we showed that we can compete. We will go down fighting right until the end on Sunday," Jones said.
His opposite number, T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz reacted to the match by saying, "What a game! Not one good for the heart but sometimes you got to fight. Sometimes we don't like to fight but sometimes it's good for you and tonight it proved good for us.
"We created sixteen, seventeen chances but what was better with St Kitts is that they are better on the ball. For the first time in the tournament, we really had to defend. If we had scored our chances then it would have been an easier game for us. The Almighty decided that we must fight," Shabazz added. "It is part of the journey to have difficult moments also."
In Saturday's earlier game, Grenada picked up their first point of the competition with a 1-1 draw with Dominica. Romelcia Phillip gave Dominica a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute before Monique George equalized for Grenada in the 64th.
Grenada head coach Andrew Munro told CONCACAF.com that his team decided that they would not be heavy losers in every match in the competition after previous losing to St Kitts and Nevis 10-0 and US Virgin Islands 3-0.
"It was a good result for us. We lost the first two games because we did not play particularly well and we struggled to settle. But today I was proud to see how the players fought right until the final whistle and it's good to see we were able to get a point from the game. This will boost our confidence and we'll try to have a similar performance on Sunday," Munro said.
Dominica's head coach Rajesh Latchoo meantime was not pleased with his side's showing. They finished the tournament with four points from their four games.
"I was not pleased. I thought we should have won the game. I know we were a bit tired because it's been four games now but I didn't expect us to make certain poor decisions. We gave them too much time on the ball. We didn't execute on the day. Now we have to evaluate our performances. The girls have come a long way despite the disappointment of not advancing but we have something to build on from here and we'll go back to training and be continuing our programme," Latchoo told CONCACAF.com