Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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U-20 Soca Princesses outclass Cuba
Three different players were on target as T&T’s Under-20 Soca Princesses whipped Cuba 3-1 in their Group A Caribbean Football Union Women’s Under-20 Finals decider at the Waterhouse Mini-Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica to advance to Friday’s semifinal as group winners.
In a fast-paced, physical, rain soaked and talent-laced contest, one which many spectators described as the best of the tournament to date, the Anique Walker-led Soca Princesses imposed early pressure on Cuba, and used a collective height advantage to great effect when passing the ball through the air.
Though the encounter was free-flowing game, the Soca Princesses, winners over Anguilla 3-0 and Grenada 9-1 in their previous matches, were more aggressive in attack and defence, and their combination of short passes along the flanks and longer passes through the centre paid off in the 40th minute, when Patrice Campbell took advantage of a deflection to beat Cuba’s goalkeeper Monica Padilla for a 1-0 which it took into the half.
From the shrill of the referee’s whistle at the resumption of play, the Cuban team raised the level of intensity in pursuit of the equaliser, and forced T&T’s defenders further back in their half with fast diagonal runs from the wings.
Their tenacity was duly rewarded within minutes, when a superb free kick fell to the tournament’s leading goal-scorer, Yoanna Calderon, who made no mistake in getting the ball past T&T goalkeeper Tenesha Palmer to level the match at 1-1.
With vocal support for both teams, the players increased the pace, skill level and physicality of the game, providing increasing entertainment for the appreciative fans.
The Izler Browne-coached Soca Princesses then regained control of the match when they scored a second goal in almost identical fashion to Cuba’s first.
A ball floated into the 18-yard box was collected by Walker, who drove powerfully past the goalkeeper to breach for a 2-1 advantage in the 67th minute. But this did not deflate the Cubans, who continued press forward on the counter-attack in pursuit the equaliser.
But it was the Soca Princesses, who added to their lead to kill off the contest when 2010 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup player, Jonelle Warrick netted in the 71st.
Despite going two goals behind, Cuba kept running hard and their efforts came close to success when a firm shot from Ollancy Gainza forced a desperate save from Palmer.
Though no more goals were scored, the game’s entertainment value was kept at a premium right to the final whistle, after three extra minutes of play.
The physical nature of the contest took its toll, however, with yellow cards for Cuba’s Eliane Acosta and Captain Regla Ponce Martinez, and similar punishment for Trinidad & Tobago’s Patrice Campbell and Khadisha Debesette.
With the win, the Soca Princesses, winners of their three matches, ended with nine points, three more than the Cubans, who also qualified for Friday’s semifinal.
Last night, in Pool B, at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, hosts Jamaica and Dominican Republic, already assured of semifinal places after winning their first two matches each, clash for top spot in Group B ahead of the semifinals while winless duo, St Kitts/Nevis and Suriname, also faced off.
The cross-over semifinals involving the top two teams in each group take place at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, Friday, while the third place match and final will also be contested at the same venue, two days later.
At the end of the CFU finals, both finalists and third placed team will qualify to the eight-team Concacaf Under-20 Championships to be staged in Cayman Islands from January 9 to 19, next year from which three teams will qualify for the 2014 Under-20 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Canada in July. Already assured of places in the Cayman Islands are USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
|Final Group A standings|
Tuesday’s CFU Under-20 Women’s Results:
Anguilla 1 vs Grenada 1
T&T 3 (Patrice Campbell 40th, Anique Walker 67th, Jonelle Warrick 71st) vs Cuba 1 (Yoanna Calderon 46th)
Friday October 25:
T&T vs Jamaica/Dominican Republic (Group B runner-up)
Jamaica/Dominican Republic (Group B winner) vs Cuba
Sunday October 27:
Third spot playoff and final:
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