Soca Warriors edge Golden Jaguars 2-1 in first friendly

…Second friendly on tonight

The Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago was treated to an entertaining encounter as the home team opened a two-match friendly series with a pulsating 2-1 victory over Caribbean counterparts Guyana.
Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz opted for a starting XI that read: Captain Daniel Wilson, Goalkeeper Jumaine Cumberbatch, Jeremy Garrett, Curtez Kellman, Quincy Adams, Leo Lovell, Amos Ramsey, Ryan Hackett, Darron Niles, Stephen McDonald and Kelsey Benjamin.
The boisterous patrons at the Hasely Crawford Stadium had to wait until the 28th minute to witness some real fireworks, when Ezekiel Kezar capitalized on a wayward play in Guyana’s back-line. Kezar made the break away and met Cumberbatch well outside his box, winning the challenge to put Trinidad ahead by 1.

The Golden Jaguars and the Soca Warriors will meet again tonight at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, T&T (TTFA Photos)

Then in the 39th, Kevon Woodley received a soft past beyond several of the Guyanese defenders. As the Golden Jaguars’ defense and keeper looked to the referee for the offside call, Woodley had no trouble beating Cumberbatch to secure their second strike.
After the 2-0 lead at the half, a clever Kelsey Banjamin netted Guyana’s consolation early in the second segment. A series of ‘back passes’ among the Soca Warriors resulted in one pass going awry, and as such, Benjamin capitalized to chip one in for Guyana.
Following the clash, Golden Jaguars Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz reviewed his team’s performance.
“Useful exercise. Good opportunities for us to see some players, you know, getting to play this game. So, very useful exercise for us tonight,” Shabazz began.
“Our game is built on trying to build it out of the back. I felt that when we went down, we started to become a little bit predictable and lose confidence, but at the half, we tried to get them to raise it a bit. So, the tempo in the first half is not what we would have liked. Yes, we were moving the ball. Yes, we had possession, but we were not really threatening them.
“In the second half, I thought we moved the ball more purposeful, and we were able to get into some better positions to threaten the opponents in the first half. I thought in the second half we dominated, and we had our chances. Of course, they had their chances, but I would say it was pretty even in the second half. In the first half, I felt Trinidad and Tobago were superior to us,” Shabazz concluded, responding to an inquiry of whether or not Guyana was ‘second best’ on the night.
Guyana will face off with Trinidad again tonight in the second of the two friendlies at the same venue. The Trinidad friendlies are a part of the Golden Jaguars’ preparation for their upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifying matches in June.