A 65th-minute penalty from Joevin Jones ensured that T&T's Soca Warriors shared the points with Martinique in their opening match of the CONCACAF Nations League at the Stade Pierre Aliker Stadium in Martinique on Friday night.
The Soca Warriors, wounded after a 1-0 loss to St Vincent and the Grenadines recently, appeared strengthened by the recruitment of speedy English-based midfielder Ryan Telfer who was on debut. But in the first half though, they could not stop the home team from taking the advantage, following a period of dominance in possession in the 40th minute. From a left side corner, Cyril Mandouki benefitted from a deflected effort that fell nicely in his path, to fire past goalkeeper Marvin Philip for a 1-0 lead.
And despite relentless attacks in the moments that followed, the home team could only maintain their advantage at the half-time interval.
After the break, the home team sought to continue their dominance early, and it was only a desperate clearance by Daneil Cyrus from a Stephone Aboul right-side cross reaching the dangerous legs of goalscorer Mandouki in the area. Later in the 53rd minute, the home team should have increased their advantage.
This time Aboul, put through on the right side, delivered perfectly for Yann Thiman to fire an uncontrolled shot over the crossbar.
But Dennis Lawrence's men came to life in the 59th minute, when Kevin Molino and Marcus Joseph exchanged passes on the right side, and the latter with a clear shot at goal, turned it wide of the post.
Telfer, however, was the architect of the T&T equalizer from the penalty spot. The midfielder exhibited blinding speed to get past his marker down the right flank, before releasing to Sheldon Bateau inside the area. But before Bateau could have gotten an attempt at goal, defender Ambroise Felicitet stormed in to sweep his legs from under him, causing the referee to point to the penalty spot.
Joevin Jones then stepped up and beat Loc Chouvet in the Martinique goal for the equalizer.
Telfer with another surging run down the left side was hacked down in the area a second time in the 70th minute, but this time the referee waved play-on.
In time added on, Martinique almost clinched the win when Romario Barthelery turned nicely in the box from a feed by Arnaud Huygues, but his curling left-footer crashed against Phillip's upright, before going to the safety.
T&T starting XI vs Martinique
1. Marvin Phillip (GK); 2. Aubrey David, 4. Sheldon Bateau, 5. Daneil Cyrus, 17. Ross Russell Jr; 19. Kevan George; 3. Joevin Jones, 23. Leston Paul, 10. Kevin Molino, 7. Ryan Telfer; 15. Marcus Joseph.