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Drab affair brings Boyz goalless draw against T&T

Published:Monday | March 4, 2024 | 12:10 AMPaul-Andre Walker/Sports Editor
Heimir Hallgrimsson
Heimir Hallgrimsson

POT SHOTS, maybe a post, and a few displays of skill provided the standout moments at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima, Trinidad, yesterday as the Reggae Boyz and Trinidad and Tobago played out a fairly listless 0-0 draw in the second of a pair of friendlies.

Both coaches, Heimir Hallgrimsson of Jamaica and Angus Eve of Trinidad and Tobago, had said, ad nauseam, that the scores of the friendlies mattered very little to them and though Jamaica went into the game with a 1-0 win from the first leg of the quasi-tie, there was no urgency.

Hallgrimsson, despite the drab affair, was happy with the encounter and an interview with him and Eve simultaneously bore out that fact.

“Especially now with the fans here, there was more intensity, and that was great for the younger kids, really good to play this match,” said Hallgrimsson.

Eve was no less delighted with the opportunity for the young players, saying:

“I think we were able to blood a lot of players who have never played for both countries before. And giving them this opportunity to see how they can stand up under this kind of scrutiny in a derby game like this was great for them.”

Jamaica, though separated in the tie by Kaheim Dixon’s debut goal in the first leg, still started on the front foot, with Alex Marshall proving a nuisance down the left side of the field.

The Jamaicans were also the first to figure out that playing passes on the ground through midfield would not work on a poor Larry Gomes field and opted to switch the ball from side to side with longish passes and give the opportunity to their wingers to do the damage.

From the early adaptation came an Andre Fletcher shot that looked good though high of the mark.

Still, the closest the Jamaicans would come in the first half was when Romeo Guthrie’s deflection cannoned off the left post of Trinidad and Tobago custodian Denzil Smith’s goal.

Trinidad and Tobago did get some look-ins as well, but their decisions to play the ball short most of the time made it easy for the Jamaicans to snuff out the danger.

Whenever they did cross the ball, Jamaica’s backline, which had a decided height advantage, also never seemed bothered.

In the second half, Trinidad and Tobago came into their own and enjoyed more possession, though that did not result in more opportunities.

In fact, the better chances still fell to the Jamaicans with Shaniel Thomas, who wove some space for himself to force Smith, at full stretch, into the best save of the day, coming closest.

Trinidad and Tobago’s increased presence in the game was also blunted when Jamaica made four changes, including the introduction of Dixon.

While there was to be no repeat, the injection of legs into the game pushed Trinidad and Tobago further on to the backfoot.

According to Hallgrimsson, the project of seeing which local players have the quality to make it into the first team has ended, and he will have to switch focus to the Concacaf Nations’ League.

“Our focus will switch to a different kind of squad, bigger games. For Jamaica it is the Nations’ League semi-finals and the Copa America in the summer, so we have to fully focus if we want to do well in those tournaments,” said Hallgrimsson.