Trinidad and Tobago's under-20 men's football team were dealt a 3-1 loss by Jamaica's under-20 team in their second friendly encounter which was played at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on Thursday.
Jamaica exacted revenge over TT, as the previous friendly between the Caribbean nations ended with a 3-2 result in TT's favour last week. As both teams continue their preparations for this month's Concacaf under-20 championship qualifiers, the Jamaican team came away with a morale boost.
TT coach Brian Haynes said his team's loss stemmed from "ten minutes of madness" in the first half, which saw the Jamaicans scoring three goals to put the contest beyond the hosts. The TT team started the game in shaky fashion at the back, and lively Jamaican midfielder Denzel McKenzie made them pay a hefty price — scoring a pair of delicious goals inside the first 20 minutes of the game.
With panicked and clumsy defending being the order of the day for TT, Jamaica ran up a 3-0 lead when McKenzie got his second goal and they threatened to blow the young Soca Warriors away in Malabar.
Jamaica's first goal came in just the ninth minute. Remarkably, they could have been down 2-0 at the time as custodian Tor Fletcher saved a penalty from Christopher Ainsworth just seconds before. Soon after Fletcher dived to his right to keep out Ainsworth's left-footed penalty, McKenzie put the visitors ahead with a curling right-footer from the ensuing corner as Jamaica caught TT off guard with a swift set-piece routine.
Fletcher picked the ball out of his net just four minutes later when his central defender Russell Francois inadvertently poked a low cross into the roof of the TT goal. There was little Fletcher or Francois could have done about Jamaica's third goal, as McKenzie arrowed a free kick into the top corner from the edge of the area after a handball infringement by a TT player.
Haynes made an adjustment as soon as the 22nd minute, as Naparima College midfielder Kanye Francis replaced St Benedict’s College striker Malachi Webb. Francis nearly brought TT level in the 33rd minute with a thunderous long-range blast which crashed off the bar.
With the hosts increasingly growing into the game, they pulled a goal back in the 41st minute when their talisman Lindell Sween slid home from close range following a bad turnover by Nickoy Gayle in the Jamaica half.
Following their horrid showing at the back in the early stages, TT threatened to cut loose just before the break, with both Levi Jones and J'Lon Matthews coming close to bulging the net with fierce hits from outside the area.
Jamaica's control of the game diminished in the second half and they opted to play the counter-attacking game. TT fashioned decent chances in the second half, particularly through substitute Michael Chaves. However, the Fatima College student could not find his golden touch and the hosts were unable to make any further inroads.
TT's blushes were also spared in the dying stages of the game when Dunsting Cohen was brilliantly denied from point-blank range.
With TT expected to go into a Carnival camp next week ahead of their campaign which starts on February 23, Haynes said a friendly encounter with a locally based TT men's team outfit could be on the cards soon.
TT are grouped with Canada, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines for the championship qualifiers and will play all their matches at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. Only the group winner will advance to the Concacaf men's under-20 championship.