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T&T vs Panama (04th-June-2005).
Sun Jun 5, 2005 16:35
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Warriors break duck on Beenhakker's debut.
By: Ian Prescott.


Trinidad and Tobago are firmly back in the 2006 World Cup qualifying picture after claiming a 2-0 victory over Panama at the Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday, their first success in the final round.
The Warriors' maiden victory in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying means they leave here tomorrow in fourth place and with four points going into Wednesday's equally-important match against Mexico in Monterey.
A 34th minute strike by experienced forward Stern John and a second in the 71st minute from overlapping stopper Dennis Lawrence set up a fabulous win as the home team gave their best performance of the entire qualifying campaign.
Playing their first competitive game under Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, the T&T Warriors looked a significantly improved team against Panama, who themselves were quick, skilful and extremely dangerous on the counter-attack. The Warriors had marginally the better of the first half in what was a good game.
Struggling striker John might have had two goals in the first half alone when presented with excellent goal-scoring opportunities.
Carlos Edwards had an excellent game and was a constant threat down the Panamanian right where he breezed past Carlos Rivera-who later had to be substituted-at will.
Edwards set up John's first chance with a square pass on the platter in the 23rd minute after ghosting past Rivera, but John stabbed the excellent opportunity wide.
However, the Coventry City striker made amends 11 minutes later when scooping a low pass from striker partner Dwight Yorke past Panama keeper Donald Gonzales to give T&T their opening goal.
And a sea of red exploded into euphoria in a near-packed Hasely Crawford Stadium.
There was much to like about the Warriors' performance. Beenhakker had no surprises in his squad except including Kelvin Jack in goal at the expense of Clayton Ince, while Densil Theobald got the nod over Leslie Fitzpatrick at left midfield.
The Dutchman got a polished performance from all of his Warriors, who stroked the ball around the park like few in Trinidad and Tobago had seen in recent times. Panama always looked dangerous but credit must go to the T&T midfield and defence.
At the back, T&T battled doggedly, while Chris Birchall, Aurtis Whitley, Theobald and Edwards had excellent runs in midfield.
After a spell of second half pressure, a superb Trinidad and Tobago performance was sealed in the 71st minute with a second goal from lanky defender Lawrence.
The Wrexham player started the move in midfield and also finished it with aplomb.
Collecting in centre field, the overlapping stopper hit the ball wide to Yorke and then ran into space to collect the return pass atop the penalty area, where he eluded a retreating defender and stroked the ball low past keeper Gonzales. It completed a well-deserved victory for Trinidad and Tobago.
The road to 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany will reach its midway point on Wednesday, 8 June 2005 as the CONCACAF Final Round continues with Match Day 5.
Panama will greet the USA at the Estadio Rommel Fernández in Ciudad de Panamá on Wednesday, while Guatemala visits Costa Rica at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in San José and Mexico host Trinidad & Tobago at the Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.

Trinidad & Tobago:

Kelvin Jack; Dennis Lawrence, Marvin Andrews, Avery John, David Atiba Charles; Carlos Edwards, Christopher Birchall, Aurtis Whitley, Densill Theobald; Dwight Yorke (capt), Stern John (Kenwyne Jones 71st).

Subs Not Used:
Hector Sam, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Marlon Rojas, Brent Rahim, Clayton Ince, Anton Pierre.

Panama:

Donaldo Gonzalez; Jose Anthony (capt), Luis Moreno, Joel Solanilla, Carlos Rivera (Joel Jiminez 72nd); Gabriel Gomez, Ricardo Phillips, Julio Medina, Alberto Blanco; Luis Tejada, Roberto Brown (Jose Garces 46th).

CONCACAF Results:

T&T 2 (Stern John, Dennis Lawrence) v Panama 0.

USA 3 (Landon Donovan 2, Brian McBride) v Costa Rica 0.

Mexico 2 (Antonio Naelson, Pablo Melgar own goal) v Guatemala 0.

Up-Close With T&T Fans.

Touches Reports.

Andre Samuel Reports.
Warriors revel then train in early morning.
By: Shaun Fuentes.


Less than a day after completing their first win of the CONCACAF 2006 Final qualifying round over Panama, Trinidad and Tobago’ senior footballers were back on the field for a training session ahead of their journey to Monterrey, Mexico.
Head coach Leo Beenhakker had captain Dwight Yorke and his men out on the Hasely Crawford Stadium pitch on Sunday morning for a light recovery session fresh from their 2-0 win over the Panamanians.
The mood was an obviously upbeat one as the players looked ahead to Wednesday’s match with Mexico for which they depart the Piarco International Airport on Monday morning.
“The result speaks for itself. The pressure was on because we all know how important it was to get a result and that’s why I’m even more proud of the players for the way they responded. The management staff deserve a lot of credit as well because they have come in and done a fantastic job in such short space of time,” Yorke told TTFF Media as the atmosphere in the dressing room after the match was certainly the most enchanting of any for the campaign thus far.
“It’s obviously important and the spirit is unbelievable right now. When you look around you see a lot of happy faces. Even the people in the streets are all buzzing and it’s been coming for a long time. Trinidad and Tobago needed something like this to happen and it’s definitely put us back in the groove. It’s a massive result and we now have a realistic chance of getting to the World Cup whereas after three games we looked almost buried to some people,” Yorke added.
Going on to Mexico, the Sydney FC man said the “Warriors” believed they could hold their own on the road once they maintained their form and positive approach.
“I am sure we can do good across there. Mexico has got a great record against us especially at home. But winning breeds confidence and I think we can go there with good organization and a good result behind us which we have at the moment and get a good result. A point would be great for us.”
Accustomed to playing in front of partisan crowds, the ex-Manchester United marksman paid tribute to the fans who made their presence felt giving the team somewhat of a twelfth man for the first time in long while.
“Home crowd is always important and the Trinidad and Tobago public has played its role that we have asked them to. When we really needed them, they turned out in their numbers and all credit to them because they could have simply stayed away and look at the situation as a dead one for us. The support is most appreciated by the team,” Yorke mentioned.
The opening goalscorer in T&T’s win, Stern John said he had no better way of responding to those who had been having a go at him.
“There’s no better way to answer the critics than to score in what was a massive win for us. I had an assist for us and when I had the miss early on I thought “Stern this is not going to be another one of those days’ and I kept my head up and fought on,” John said.
“If you don’t take chances you can’t have a chance of winning the lotto and I wasn’t really worried about it. I’m just really happy for all the boys and I don’t think we have experienced this sort of feeling and we feel it can only get better for us from here.”
The team also spoke highly of coach Beenhakker and his staff.
“The coach knows what he’s doing and we have ‘nuff’ respect for him. He also gave me the confidence to go out and do it. When everyone else was talking about taking me off, he was the one who saw me everyday in training and stood by me. He knows the kind of players he has on his team,” John ended.
The team will depart with only one change being goalkeeper Duarance Williams coming in for Clayton Ince after the Crewe Alexandra custodian informed management that he would be opting to sit out the Mexico match.

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