A gutsy, but unlucky T&T performance against host Mexico in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on Friday night, saw them bow out of the tournament 4-5.
The win means the Mexicans have advanced to meet Group A winners Panama in the semifinals today after the Panamanians pulled off a hard-fought 6-4 win over Guatemala in an earlier quarterfinal showdown.
Facing a team that defeated them 5-1 in the same round of the competition last year, T&T's Beach Soccer Warriors were expectedly nervous at the start and they paid dearly for it, as the Mexicans raced to a 2-0 lead in the opening five minutes of play. Abdiela Villa was first to a cross ball from the left, to head past Zane Coker in the 2nd minute.
And two minutes later Jose Hernandez with a rasping shot, flew past Coker for a 2-0 advantage in the first period.
Soon after T&T lost goalkeeper Coker who was forced into a rash challenge and had to be stretchered off with an injured right ankle that could see him miss the rest of the tournament. Coker was replaced by Jabari Gray, but before the match could be restarted, a swarm of bees hovered over the field and caused the referee to send the players for a short break.
However, the Warriors sprung to life in the second period of play that turned the match around. With less than a minute in the second period gone, Shallun Bobb got in between the Mexican defenders to head in for his team, reducing the score to 1-2.
And with Kevon 'Showtime' Woodley silent for most of the early moments, the T&T striker stormed down the right flank to centre perfectly for Shane Hospedales to turn nicely on his left foot and shot past the Mexican goalkeeper for the equalizer 2-2 in the 23rd minute.
At the start of the third period of play, T&T silenced the noisy Mexican crowd when Bobb blasted the ball past the Mexican custodian from the right side to give his team the lead for the first time.
T&T then got a golden chance to extend their advantage from the penalty spot when Jair Aleman encroached on Woodley's acrobatic attempt. However, Woodley fired his shot high over the bars.
Instead, Mexico's never-say-die attitude proved to be the deciding factor. Two goals by Mexico's Jose Vizcarra in the 31st and 32nd minute, and another by Villa in the 30th took the home team through to the semis, despite Woodley item in the 35th minute.