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Friday 13 December 2019
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Lawrence pleased for TT team after elusive victory

TT’s Marcus Joseph (C) takes a shot against Anguilla’s goalkeeper Ryan Laddie(L) during the international friendly, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Sunday evening. - Allan V. Crane
TT’s Marcus Joseph (C) takes a shot against Anguilla’s goalkeeper Ryan Laddie(L) during the international friendly, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Sunday evening. - Allan V. Crane

TT MEN’S football team coach Dennis Lawrence expressed his delight with his squad after they earned an elusive victory, a 15-0 thrashing of Anguilla, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Sunday evening.

The result was TT’s biggest-ever margin of victory and Anguilla’s worst-ever margin of defeat at the international level.

Marcus Joseph recorded five goals, with Ryan Telfer, Ataulla Guerra, Nathan Lewis and debutant Darius Lewis netting two apiece. Aaron Lester and Jomal Williams got the other items for TT, who ended their 14-game win-less run, dating back to September 6, 2018.

Asked during the post-game media conference if he was relieved that the win-less streak was over, Lawrence responded, “Not me personally, I’m pleased for the players. It’s always good to get wins under your belt, positive results, so hopefully that’ll carry us in the next two games with a different frame of minds.” Sunday’s match, against the lowest ranked team on the FIFA rankings (209th), was a warm-up ahead of a pair of away games – against Ecuador on Thursday and Honduras, in a Concacaf Nations League fixture, this Sunday.

The TT fans nor the media had any idea who would be lining up for the “red, black and white” before kick-off time, on Sunday, hence it was a surprise to see three debutants in action – central midfielder Matthew Woo Ling (from the start), Danish-born goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup (a half-time introduction) and US-born attacker Darius Lewis (in the 62nd minute).

About the new recruits, Lawrence said, “If you look at it overall, it was important that we had a good detailed look at players like Woo Ling. Looking at him, you can see potential and I think he did a lot of good things. He’ll make the trip to Ecuador and Honduras because I think he deserves it. Darius came on, he took the opportunity and I’m pleased for (him). Overall, I was more pleased for the group. Nicklas, who came in and had to make one save, when he was called upon, he did his job.”

Another rarity for the TT team was their first clean sheet in ten matches, since a goalless draw away to Japan on June 5.

Lawrence said, “I was pleased with the mentality of the players. Physically, I thought they pushed themselves. You cannot replace 90 minutes of competitive football.

“We worked on a couple things in terms of getting the full-backs to overlap. I was pleased with their efforts and the way they conducted themselves, being professional and trying to maintain their shape.”

Lawrence pointed out that the quartet of Sheldon Bateau (central defender), Neveal Hackshaw (defender/midfielder), Daniel Carr and Rundell Winchester (strikers) will be joining the squad in Ecuador.

“We need to try and get as much out of the game, in terms of what we want to do against Honduras,” was Lawrence’s view of the forthcoming Ecuador match. “Regardless of the way how Ecuador plays, we need to play in a manner that we need to play against Honduras.”

With regards to the areas that he needs to work on, Lawrence noted, “At times, on set pieces, we don’t look the way that I’ll like us to look. We don’t look dominant enough. We need to take a little bit more care of the ball. (On Sunday), even though we managed the ball quite well, there were too many occasions when the simple ball we made too hard.”

The TT team will leave for Ecuador today for Thursday’s match and then leave the South American nation on Friday for Honduras.

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