T&T’s Under-14 girls' team let a 1-0 lead slip and was eventually beaten 2-1 by Cuba in the winner take all Caribbean Football Union Challenge Series final round match at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Tuesday night.
With the win, Cuba ended with a maximum of nine points from three matches after recording victories over Suriname and Grenada by similar 7-0 margins while T&T ended second with six points. The host nation whipped Grenada 10-0 and blanked Suriname 3-0 in their first two matches.
T&T started the better of both teams in Tuesday's final round-match and took the lead in the eighth minute through Carissa Cowan, who earlier hit the left post from an acute angle off a pass from a throw-in by team-mate Twinkle Thomas in the fourth minute.
Cuba then created a few nervous moments for the T&T defence from long balls into the 18-yard box and it was from one of the set plays by left-footed Cinthia Aguilera, the locals failed to clear and the ball fell straight at the feet of Dalia Baez who rifled home a right-footer through a crowd of players and past goalkeeper Mikaela Yearwood to even the score at 1-1 four minutes before the half-time interval. Each match was a duration of 70 minutes (35 x 35).
Seven minutes into the second-half, Keila Hernandez put Cuba ahead for good, when her left-footed effort from some way outside the 18-yard box, managed to elude Yearwood.
Breana Smith then came close to getting T&T back on level terms but her free-kick through a four-player Cuban wall was bravely kept out by goalkeeper Shaila Hernandez low to her right while fellow T&T forward, Talia Martin also created a few nervous moments for the Spanish-speaking islanders as T&T bombarded their opposition goal, time after time with the hope of getting the go-ahead strike, but without luck.
T&T's cause was further helped with Cuba defender Lianet Franco was showed a second yellow card for a foul on required outcome Faith Alexander.
Smith then had a long-range destined for the top right-hand corner of the goal plucked out of the air by Hernandez in the dying minutes as her team held on with the ten players to secure the win.
In the night's opener, Suriname avoided the wooden spoon with a 3-1 defeat of Grenada in the clash of winless teams.
Suriname 3 (Royanie Karjasemita 16th, Michajah Emanuels 34th, Shanika Kertoidjojo 63rd) v Grenada 1 (Teasis Jones 48th)
Cuba 2 (Dalia Baez 31, Keila Hernandez 42) vs T&T 1 (Carissa Cowan 8th)
Trinidad and Tobago Team
1. Mikaela Yearwood (GK), 18. Sadiel Antoine (GK), 2. J’eleisha Alexander, 3. Faith Alexander, 4. Jeniceia Benjamin (captain), 5. Angel Berot, 6. Arie Bhagan, 7. Talia Martin, 8. Twinkle Thomas, 9. Breana Smith, 10. Orielle Martin, 11. Miakayla St Clair, 12. Gamie Waldron, 13. Carissa Cowan, 14. Nikita Jackson, 15. Jewel Benjamin-Edmond-King, 16. Akia Morris, 17. Rasheeda Archer.