SUBSTITUTE Nathaniel James scored a double and set up another as Trinidad and Tobago brushed aside Suriname 3-0 on Thursday to advance to the knock-out stage of the Concacaf Under-20 Championships in Honduras.
James got his name on the scoresheet in the 64th and 88th minutes, while captain Molik Khan found the back of the net in the 84th.
Thursday’s result, at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, meant the Angus Eve-coached TT team finished with four points from three matches, but with a goal difference of minus-two. Suriname were last in the four-team group without a point from their three games.
Mexico (six points) and Haiti (four points) were due to face each other, in the second game of the Group F double-header, to determine the final placings in the group.
If TT finish third in the group, they will have to face Costa Rica on Saturday, but if they end up in second spot, they will square off against Jamaica on Sunday.
Suriname had a pair of opportunities to open the scoring on Thursday, but TT goalkeeper Tristan Edwards had to make point-blank saves to deny Jayen Gerold, in the 11th minute, and Dimitrio Andro, ten minutes later.
Khan had a goal ruled out for an apparent hand-ball, in the 41st, while he forced a good save from Jonathan Fonkel, at the end of the half.
James, who replaced Tarik Lee during the half-time interval, put TT in front midway in the second half, with a speculative long-range drive which got an awkward bounce and befuddled Fonkel, who could only look on in agony as the ball flew to his left and into the back of the net.
Winger Real Gill, from a tight angle, saw his 79th-minute effort blocked by the goalie, but Khan netted TT’s second item five minutes later.
James, from approximately 35 metres, sent in a freekick from the left which was met by Khan, who got in front of the goalie and placed his right-footed shot into an open net.
And James put the game beyond Suriname’s reach moments later. After his intended pass to fellow sub Tyrik Trotman was intercepted by a defender, James guided his left-footed shot past the reach of Fonkel.