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T&T vs Slovenia (31-May-2006).
Thu Jun 1, 2006 08:07
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Novakovic punishes promising T&T.
By: Shaun Fuentes.


On a chilly Wednesday evening in Celje, Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup squad got a few more valuable lessons about themselves as they went under to a rugged Slovenia outfit 3-1 at the Arena Petrol. A Chris Birchall long range strike in the 25th minute was all the “Soca Warriors” had to show for their efforts as some sloppy work at the back saw them fall behind to two early goals through Milijove Novakovic who eventually went on to grab a hattrick for the 2002 World Cup participants.
Following Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Wales in Graz, Leo Beenhakker’s men were hoping to get a better outcome this time around but that was not to be. Despite the uninspiring result though, there were some good points for Dwight Yorke and his men as they played some enterprising football during the first half before Novakovic capitalized on a fumble by Shaka Hislop in the 76th minute to put the match out of their reach.
The Slovenians had a more aggressive approach to the game and held nothing back in their tackling of the Soca Warriors who are preparing for a historic appearance at the 2006 World Cup.
Yorke’s role shift to a sweeper’s position raised some eyebrows and things didn’t get any better when Novakovic shot home from close ranger after the T&T defense failed to deal properly with a cross in the 4th minute.
Then again, the swift moving Slovenians struck a second time when Hislop did well to pull off a reflex block but Novakovic was on spot to hit the rebound past the hapless West Ham custodian.
Moments before that Yorke slipped a through pass to Stern John but he failed in his attempt to chip goalkeeper Barut Mavric.
T&T were by no means out of it as they settled into playing a neat passing game and they hit back when Birchall made his mind up and had a crack from 20 yards out and the ball headed down the left corner past Mavric for his third international goal. Soon after Yorke started a promising move in T&T’s half and Avery John swung one over from the left which just missed Stern John’s head.
T&T still had some tidying to do at the back after some easy loss of possession.
Then Yorke made a run forward and slipped it through to John again and as he got away from his man he managed only to drag his effort wide of the upright.
The Coventry City striker persisted and thought he had pulled T&T level minutes from the break but he was called for an infringement on the goalie. Scotland and Edwards had some good moves on the right but Beenhakker pulled off the latter at the start of the second half, replacing him with centre half Brent Sancho.
T&T didn’t allow the hosts to pull away much further as the match progressed but there play was not as fluent as the first half. Evans Wise made an appearance in the 69th minute and he left his man for dead when he dragged the ball past him on an inside left position towards goal but the play was eventually broken down as the minutes ticked away. And then when Novakovic struck a third time, it took the sting out of T&T’s play to leave the scores 3-1 at the final whistle.

TEAMS:

Trinidad & Tobago:


1-Shaka Hislop, 3-Avery John, 6-Dennis Lawrence, 8-Cyd Gray, 9-Aurtis Whitley (16-Evans Wise 69th), 7-Christopher Birchall, 19-Dwight Yorke (capt), 11-Carlos Edwards (5-Brent Sancho 46th), 18-Densill Theobald, 20-Jason Scotland, 14-Stern John.

Subs Not Used:

Kelvin Jack, Ian Cox, Marvin Andrews, Russell Latapy, Collin Samuel, Cornell Glen, Atiba Charles, Anthony Wolfe.

Not in squad were:

Clayton Ince, Kenwyne Jones and Silvio Spann.

Slovenia:

Mavrič Borut, Čeh Nastja (Jokić Bojan 84th), Lavrič Klemen (Ačimovič Milenko 52nd), Koren Robert, Mavrič Matej, Kokot Aleš, Komac Andrej (Semler 55th), Ilič Branko, Zavrl Janez (Birsa Valter 70th), Žlogar Anton (Šukalo Goran 82nd), Novakovič Milivoje (Brečko Mišo 89th).

Subs Not Used:

Handanovič Samir, Rodič Aleksandar, Cipot Fabijan.

Att:
4,000.

Final Score:

Slovenia 2 (Milivoje Novakovic 4th, 15th, 77th) v Trinidad & Tobago 1 (Christopher Birchall 25th).

Media.

See the T&T goals.

Bring on the pressure now.
By: Shaun Fuentes.


National team coach Leo Beenhakker and skipper Dwight Yorke expects another tough outing and they have sent a message to the Czech Republic National team to bring it on when the two teams clash in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up international at the Toyota Arena from 5:30pm (11:30am TT time).
This will be the final international warm up for the “Soca Warriors” ahead of their opening Group B fixture against Sweden on June 10 and despite coming off a 3-1 defeat to Slovenia on Wednesday, Beenhakker says his men are relishing the tougher outings at this stage of their preparations. At this stage, while it’s not nice losing, the results means little to the “Soca Warriors”. “I am very thankful for the way Slovenia was playing. That’s exactly what we were looking for. They played with a lot of speed and aggression in a good way and they were strong,” Beenhakker told TTFF Media.
His general message to the media after the loss in Celje was the same. “This is what we were looking for because some of my players are not so accustomed to playing such speedy games. We are in a moment of tough preparation and you could see it a little bit especially in the second half,” he added.
“We didn’t start very well as we were still a bit sleepy. They started well and they got two goals and after that we played a good game until half time. The second half were not so good from our side. But for me the most important thing is it was a perfect preparation game and I am very thankful for the way Slovenia played. It was tough but that is exactly what we will meet in Germany.”
The Dutchman said he was in no mood to make excuses but he prefers facing potent opponents rather than facing easier opposition and coming away with handsome wins.
He wants better starts though although he recognized that the intense training could have played a part in fatigue creeping into T&T’s play. “If you have two goals within 15 minutes then something is missing. In the Second half you could notice we are still in tough preparation period with guys we tied and I don’t blame them for that.
“No we know exactly what we have to do. It’s just a matter of a little more discipline and maybe a lot more concentration. The game here in Europe is much more speedy than we are used to. We have to do it though,” Beenhakker said.
“Right now we are busy with preparation matches. I can choose easy opponents and we can win 3-0 and everybody thinks we are there. We need these games and the guys need to get use to it,” the T&T boss concluded.

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