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T&T vs Guatemala (03-Sept-2005)
Sun Sep 4, 2005 18:03
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Warriors!!!...on Latapy’s magic & John’s resolve.
By Jovan Ravello (Guardian).


T&T’s Warriors did what was required of them yesterday- they beat Guatemala 3-2, on goals from Russell Latapy and Stern John in their 2006 Concacaf World Cup qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo in front of a sellout crowd.
The match started in the same vein as T&T’s 1-0 loss to the United States World Cup at Rentschler Field, Connecticut, on August 17. The Guatemalans charged out of the gates and went for the jugular from the opening whistle.
And the match was only three minutes old when the visitors got the opening they were searching for.
Brent Sancho in central defence for T&T took down Guatemala’s Gonzalo Romero just in front of the T&T area; Guillermo Ramirez took the kick and his well- struck shot took a deflection before whizzing past Kelvin Jack in goal for T&T.
The T&T players were not discouraged and immediately went for the equaliser, but John could not get to Russell Latapy’s chip into the Guatemala area.
For his part, Latapy looked nothing close to his 37 years and exhibited his characteristic skill, control and ability to read the game as he commanded his position alongside John in attack.
T&T continued to surge forward in the face of the quick-passing Guatemalans, who won the first leg of the final round tie 5-1. Carlos Edwards and Silvio Spann on the right and Aurtis Whitley and captain Dwight Yorke in the centre of the park,featured in the play.
In the ninth minute, John got a golden opportunity after some poor defensive work by the Guatemalan backline, but he steered his shot wide of the far post with Guatemalan custodian Miguel Klee at his mercy.
After some frantic moments on both ends of the field the Warriors settled down into a more constructive rhythm and built their attacks on either flank through Latapy and Edwards, but the attack was plagued by offside calls nine of them on John.
In the 18th minute, John’s header at the end of a Sancho cross from deep in midfield was bundled away by Klee and the rebound fell to Yorke, who put it in the back of the net. But the goal was disallowed for offside.
The T&T defence looked unsteady at times, but escaped the penalty for slack marking and indecisiveness in the first-half, as the Guatemalans seemed content to ride their lead into the interval.
Jason Scotland, a half-time substitute for Whitley, kept the pressure up for the Warriors, allowing Latapy more space to worry the Guatemalan defence with precise passing, and his efforts paid off. On one such foray in the 47th minute.
Latapy controlled the ball on the right side of the field cut inside the area, dribbled the last defender and curled a shot with his left foot to Klee’s left setting, off frienzied celebrations, which gave lie to his “expect no miracles” suggestion earlier in the week. It was indeed a magical moment.
In the 62nd minute Romero got Guatemala’s second goal off a pass from Elmer Ponciano, which silenced the crowd. Soon afterwards, Klee came up with a couple of saves off shots from Scotland and Birchall, who was not as effective as in his earlier matches for T&T. Warriors began to show signs of fatigue.
In the 72nd minute Spann made way for Scott Sealy and Latapy pulled back into midfield as Beenhakker adopted a more attacking strategy. It paid off in the 86th minute. Latapy’s quickness of eye and feet proved vital as he played the ball to John in the Guatemala area and John put it to Klee’s right with a stiff one-time shot.
Before the goal, the crowd was calling for John’s scalp, but were soon singing his praise he did the unthinkable and gave T&T the three points with a well- taken goal from a pass by Yorke.
With time and space, John chested Yorke’s chip in the area let it bounce and blasted a half- volley past Klee on the first post a minute after his first goal, to set the red, white and black 23,000 plus crowd in a delightful crescendo of acclamation.
The victory takes T&T to seven points, the same as Guatemala and Costa Rica, who host T&T on Wednesday in Costa Rica, when Mexico hosts Panama and Guatemala meets the USA.

T&T:
Kelvin Jack, Avery John, Brent Sancho, Marvin Andrews, Christopher Birchall, Carlos Edwards, Aurtis Whitley (Jason Scotland 45th - Ian Cox 90th), Silvio Spann (Scott Sealey 72nd), Russell Latapy, Stern John, Dwight Yorke (capt).

Subs not used:
Shaka hislop, Atiba Charles, Densill Theobald, Cyd Gray.

Guatemala:
Miguel Klee, Gustavo Cabrera, Sylvyn Ponciano, Angel Sanabria, Fredy Garcia (Carlos Figueroa 57th), Elmer Ponciano, Jilio Giron, Fredy Thompson, Gonzalo Romero, Guillermo Ramirez, Carlos Ruiz (capt).

Subs:
Paulo Cesar Motta, Victor Hernandez, Rigoberto Gomez, Maynor Davila, Juan Carlos Plata, Edwin Villatoro.

Referee:
Armando Archundia Tellez.

Goals Scorers:
T&T: Russell Latapy 47th, Stern John 86th, 87th

Guatemala: Guillermo Ramirez 3rd, 61st
The Latapy Factor... Beenhakker lauds 'Little Magician'
By: Ian Prescott (Express).


Leo Beenhakker feels that Russell Latapy added a little bit extra to his team yesterday. Playing his first international game in four years, the "Little Magician" capped his return with a goal and victory.
Memories of Latapy at his best must have filled the mind, as the diminutive footballer weaved his way through the Guatemala defence to level the score at 1-1 early in the second half. As the ball hit the back of the Guatemala net, Trinidad & Tobago erupted in ecstasy.
A game that had everything, tension, frustration and finally elation, saw the Warriors coming from a goal down to win 3-2 before a 20,000 strong crowd of happy natives at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Afterwards Beenhakker said his Warriors have a right to be happy-a little bit- following an excellent victory which that kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Afterwards, the Dutchman spoke about Latapy's contribution.
"At least he is giving me more possibilities and balance in the team. You know in the team you like everybody, you like the player who can get the ball back, you like guys who are willing to run, and you like guys who play with a lot of intelligence. And in that way, he (Latapy) is a very intelligent player. He has a very good eye for running with the ball. He has a very good eye for the free man, and the way he is playing now, he gives something extra in the balance of the team."
Beenhakker was also high in praise for the battling qualities of all his Warriors.
Once again, they suffered an early setback, conceding a goal after just three minutes, but battled to the very end to pick up the victory. Even if they had lost, the Dutchman might have been pleased with what he saw.
"I think, more than ever, the team has deserved this victory, and the way they fight the last moment is a big difference from the first half hour in the USA. So, at least they learnt their lesson. That made me, of course, very happy.
"We had a difficult start again, just like the USA match of course. But, I have to say the team after this disappointment, conceding a goal after just two minutes, coped very well. They did what I coached. In my opinion, I think they deserved in the first half to get a goal. We weren't very lucky in the first half, and it was the same thing in the second half. I think we did a good performance."
On the field, Beenhakker had many heroes. Brent Sancho played like a Trojan, compensating for another sub-par performance from fellow stopper Marvin Andrews. Sancho was everywhere, tackling with aplomb the difficult job of containing the ever-dangerous Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz with aplomb. Also doing well were Silvio Spann and Aurtis Whitley. Dwight Yorke took on the captain's responsibility, linking the team together when they fell behind.
And most of all, Stern John became the T&T sweetheart again by scoring two goals, one to tie the game at 2-2 in the 86th and the winner in the 87th. Shrugging off poor form, bad luck and growing criticism, John become the hero of the day. He worked hard throughout, but had no luck until he scored the two crucial goals.
Yesterday, Trinidad & Tobago saw two familiar things. Latapy is playing again and Stern is scoring again. However, what they haven't seen for sometime is Trinidad and Tobago battling back to win at the death. At least, not since Kerry Jamerson unleashed a bullet in 1989 to beat another Guatemala team.
Guatemala coach Ramon Maradiaga said his team were at no time inferior to Trinidad and Tobago. He added that his team's chances of reaching the World Cup are excellent, and as good as any of the other teams still in contention. But with games against Costa Rica, the United States and Mexico to come, Maradiaga seemed to be putting on a brave face. Guatemala's World Cup chances might well have disappeared when John netted that very late winner.

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