Trinidad and Tobago are a step closer to a return to the Concacaf Gold Cup after topping Montserrat 6-1 in the First Round of the 2021 Gold Cup Prelims on Friday night at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The win sends Trinidad and Tobago to the Second Round, where they will face the winner of Saturday’s Cuba-French Guiana contest.

The first goal arrived in the 21st minute through Trinidad and Tobago’s Kevin Molino from the penalty spot after a foul on DF Aubrey David in the Montserrat area. Molino stepped up and coolly converted from the spot to hand the Soca Warriors a 1-0 advantage.

Montserrat looked to respond but instead, it was 2-0 to Trinidad and Tobago in the 35th when Marcus Joseph caught Montserrat GK Corrin Brooks off his line and flighted in a shot from 40 yards out for the goal.

 Trinidad and Tobago then extended the lead to 3-0 in the 45+2’minute when Ryan Telfer got loose behind the Montserrat defense and hammered in a right-footed shot.

Montserrat came out with plenty of fight to start the second half and pulled a goal back for 3-1 in the 55th minute when Lyle Taylor headed in after Spencer Weir’s shot deflected off the crossbar.

 But Trinidad and Tobago restored the sizeable advantage two minutes later in the 57th minute when Judah Garcia gathered in a long ball and finished to make it 4-1.

Momentum was clearly on the side of the Soca Warriors and Reon Moore stretched the lead to 5-1 in the 68’ with a right-footed finish.

The night was then punctuated by Moore tacking on another in the 82’ to round out the 6-1 scoreline.

Haiti will take on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala faces Guyana while Trinidad and Tobago will go up against Monserrat when Round One of the preliminaries of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on July 2 and 3 at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Florida.

Cuba will tackle French Guiana, Guadeloupe will battle The Bahamas and Bermuda go up against Barbados in what will be the first time ever that the competition will have preliminaries that will see three teams qualify for the 16-team Group Stage.

“We look forward with great anticipation to this summer’s Gold Cup, which will undoubtedly be enhanced by this new Preliminary Round,” said Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani.

“The past year has been very challenging in our region and our thoughts are with all the communities that have suffered. We hope the opportunity to watch the best men’s national teams in Concacaf compete in our flagship tournament can provide fans with some hope and enjoyment

All 12 of the competing nations in the Prelims will get a full Gold Cup experience at the excellent Inter Miami facilities and we look forward to a great set of games.”

“We look forward to hosting the Gold Cup Prelims tournament in our stadium,” said Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas. “Our facilities in Fort Lauderdale were built with the intent of giving our fans opportunities to enjoy the world’s game knowing that our vibrant culture and sports-centric region would be attractive for global teams and competitions. This is just the beginning of the great things that lie ahead.”

Round Two will begin on July 6 when the winner of the Haiti/St Vincent clash will take on the winner of the Bermuda/Barbados matchup. The winner of the Guatemala/Guyana encounter will play the winner of the Guadeloupe/Bahamas match. And finally, the winner of the Cuba/French Guiana match will tackle the winner of the Trinidad and Tobago/Montserrat clash.

The winning nation in each of the three Round Two matchups will advance to the Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, where they were drawn into Group A, B and C as follows:

Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and Winner Prelims 9

Group B: USA, Canada, Martinique, and Winner Prelims 7

Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and Winner Prelims 8

Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar.

The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage will kick off on July 10 and run through August 1, 2021, and will feature 16 national teams, of which Canada, Costa Rica, Curaçao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, eight-time and defending champion Mexico, Panama, Suriname, six-time champion the United States, are already qualified to the group stage of the tournament. Additionally, Qatar has been invited to the tournament as the current champion and representative of the Asian Football Confederation.

The remaining three countries will qualify through the Gold Cup Prelims, in which 12 Member Associations will compete for the final three spots, to be played July 2-6- at Inter Miami CF Stadium in South Florida.

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda Head Coach Mikele Leigertwood has praised his team for the quality of their play that saw them go unbeaten in the latest round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and go top of Group A over El Salvador and Grenada.

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