SOCA Warriors were eliminated in the first round of the 2022 World Cup-qualifying campaign after a 0-0 draw against the Bahamas at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday.
TT needed a win to stay in contention in Group F, but Saturday’s result means the Soca Warriors have five points after earning one win and two draws. St Kitts/Nevis will advance as the group winner as the tiny Caribbean island are on nine points with one match remaining.
The match between TT and St Kitts/Nevis on Tuesday will be a warm-up match for the latter as they prepare for the next round of competition. TT squandered several opportunities against a well organised Bahamas outfit.
The Bahamas packed their defence which worked for the team ranked 201st in the world. Bahamas goalkeeper Ian Lowe was one of the players of the match as he kept TT at bay throughout the contest. TT wasted numerous opportunities to take the lead in the first half including an effort by Andre Fortune in the 35th minute. Fortune collected the ball from just outside the box but his shot just missed the target.
The Bahamas created chances of their own as in the 36th minute Lesly St Fleur almost gave the home team the lead with a brilliant solo effort. He evaded three TT players, but his attempt went wide.
With five minutes left in the first half, Lowe continued to be the hero for the Bahamas with two more incredible saves. In the final minute of the half, Marcel Joseph’s effort was just outside the box forced TT goalkeeper Adrian Foncette to make a top save.
The second half was similar to the first half as TT continued to attack without any luck. TT midfielder Duane Muckette got two chances in the first six minutes, the second a shot from outside the box that failed to hit the target.
Bahamas maintained the same strategy that worked for them in the first half by defending in numbers and hitting TT on the counterattack. TT continued to press with TT head coach Terry Fenwick introducing many substitutes in an attempt to salvage a goal. Khaleem Hyland, TT’s captain in earlier qualifying matches, along with Judah Garcia, Daniel Phillips and Daniel Carr came on.
TT attacked and attacked some more with Neveal Hackshaw hitting the post with a header in the 80th minute. Carr also missed a header in the 86th minute as time started to run out on TT’s chances of staying alive in World Cup qualifying. It was not meant to be as the Bahamas held on for the draw.
Following the match, Fenwick said, “First of all I have got to hand to Bahamas...they wore their hearts on their sleeve, they fought for every ball and they grinded out a result. I am very disappointed for us in TT, squandering multiple opportunities with the quality of players that we’ve got in the squad this is a big disappointment.”