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T&T vs Mexico (12-Oct-2005).
Sun Oct 30, 2005 08:26
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T&T rally to reach play-off.
By: FIFAworldcup.com.


Trinidad's 2-1 come-from-behind win over Mexico on the final day of qualifying in Port of Spain saw them edge chasers Guatemala, who also won at home, to grab a spot in the decisive play-off with Bahrain.
Despite some decidedly turbulent ups and downs in the final round of North, Central American and Caribbean qualifying, the Soca Warriors' wildly impressive performance against an admittedly under-strength Mexico brought them to 13 points and fourth-place in the final six-team group.
In the same Hasely Crawford Stadium where they lost out on a trip to Italy 1990 on the final day of qualifying back in 1989, the home side were determined not to let this chance – their best since that fateful day – slip away.
An outrageous left-footed chip by Jaime Lozano over the head of goalkeeper Kelvin Jack in minute 38 looked to have put paid to the islanders' best hopes. But three minutes before the interval, an equaliser from Stern John, who was doing his very best to atone for an earlier penalty miss, brought the dismayed all-red crowd back to life.
Knowing a win would nullify anything Guatemala could do against Costa Rica, John sealed the night, and his hero status, with a vicious blast to the top corner just after the hour mark. As he made no mistake from a genius bit of play from inspirational 37-year-old veteran Russell Latapy, the ecstatic crowd forgave John's earlier transgression as they danced and sang to the final whistle. In the dying minutes of the game, T&T could have made it 3-1, when sub Densill Theobald a replacement for Aurtis Whitley found Marvin Andrews in the back and after surging through the middle tried a weak right-footed drive which found Stern John but his back heeled shot was cleared off the line by the Mexicans.
The Caribbean side will now play-off with fifth-place Asian finisher Bahrain, who earlier in the day, pulled off a 0-0 draw at home against Uzbekistan to see them through. The first leg will be played in Port of Spain on 12 November and the second four days later in Bahrain.
Led by wily old Dutch tactician Leo Beenhakker, T&T will be hoping to become only the second English speaking Caribbean nation in history to reach a FIFA World Cup finals, after Jamaica made their debut at France 1998.
"The manner in which we fought during the whole game to turn around the result was amazing," Beenhakker told the Mexican radio station Estadio W on Thursday.
"It was an historic win which has left the doors open for this country to go to the World Cup." Beenhakker, 63, who coached his native Netherlands at the 1990 World Cup finals, added: "Time doesn't forgive and I'm more or less at the end of my sporting career. "This could be a fantastic finale for me to take part at another World Cup."

Guatemalan tears for souvenirs.
One man's joy is another man's pain, as they say. After a brilliant chip from Elmer Ponciano opened the scoring in only the second minute against Costa Rica, it seemed it was to be the Guatemalans who would be celebrating through the night. But two more from Freddy Garcia and Carlos Ruiz and an emphatic 3-1 win at home were not enough to edge out the Trinidadians as the Chapines finished the campaign with only tears for souvenirs and 13 points - three shy of the islanders.

Confident USA claim top spot.
In the section's other game, Bruce Arena decided to give a second chance to the talented youngsters brushed aside 3-0 by Costa Rica at the weekend and the gamble paid off. The second string repaid his faith with a solid 2-0 victory over bottom-placed Panama, who also rested several first-choice players. Goals early in the second half from Kyle Martino and Taylor Twellman proved enough for the Stars and Stripes to claim top spot in the qualification group for the first time in their history.

TEAMS:

T&T Line-Up:
Kelvin Jack (Shaka Hislop 46th), Cyd Gray, Marvin Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Avery John, Carlos Edwards, Christopher Birchall, Dwight Yorke (capt), Aurtis Whitley (Densill Theobald 80th), Russell Latapy, Stern John.

Mexico Line-Up:
Jose Corona, Francisco Rodriguez, Joel Huiqui (Mario Medina 67th), Israel Lopez (capt), Oscar Rojas, Hugo Guerrero, Luis Perez (Alberto Medina 46th), Guillermo Franco (Juan Rodríguez 74th), Francisco Fonseca, Carlos Morales, Jaime Lozano.
Beenhakker: We deserved the victory.
By: Kern De Freitas (Express).


Trinidad and Tobago national football coach Leo Beenhakker has expressed satisfaction with the "Warriors" performance in their 2-1 triumph over Mexico in their final round CONCACAF World Cup qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Wednesday night.
The victory puts T&T in fourth spot in the CONCACAF qualifying standings and the national team now face a home and away playoff next month with the fifth-place Asian Zone country, Bahrain, for a berth at the 2006 World Cup.
And although the Dutchman remained typically composed following his team's latest win against the top CONCACAF team, Beenhakker was notably much happier with the Warriors' performance on the night.
"You also saw the game, no?" Beenhakker told the media following the match. "I think everyone can be happy with it. We played against one of the best teams of the world. And they still are. And I think it was in our possibilities. We played a great match, especially first half. First half hour we didn't give a chance to them. And we had the whole match in our hands.
"It was a difficult moment when Stern (John) missed the penalty, but after that the team again played with a lot of courage, and I think at the end we beat a great team, a great opponent, and we deserved the victory."
The T&T coach also revealed that now that this part of the journey is over, he and the rest of his staff already have their sights set on Bahrain.
"What can I say? I know we have two more games to play," Beenhakker said. "Yeah, well, first I think we have the right to be happy about this victory and we know that Bahrain is our next opponent, and from tomorrow morning we will start thinking about it.
"At least we have one of the coaches over there from Holland," the T&T coach continued, "and he saw both matches, so in that way we are very well prepared. We know who Bahrain is and we know who the players are. We will get information about all that, so from tomorrow we will start thinking about it.
"We have a few weeks and, as you know, everybody will go to his club tomorrow morning and I will see the guys again four days before the next match. So that's the situation we are in."
T&T captain Dwight Yorke was also elated with the victory, but although he felt the public should celebrate, he warned that the team still has some way to go to qualify.
"There's no question that this was a fantastic result for us," the Sydney FC striker remarked. "We set out pretty much to score an early goal, and again this is a fantastic result and everyone should be happy because we know that the job is not complete yet.
"We put ourselves in a fantastic position," Yorke added, "and by completing the job tonight, we have a couple of games ahead of us and again I keep saying let's not get ahead of our time. But we should enjoy the occasion which is a special occasion for everybody."
T&T striker Stern John, who scored both goals to lift the Warriors to victory, acknowledged he has now surpassed Steve David's World Cup qualifying goalscoring record (16 goals) for the national team with 18, but said the most important goal right now is qualifying.
"It's always good to score goals," John added. "I did not really set out to break his record, it's just good to score today and get the victory for the team. I think along the way if I break records and stuff it's an added bonus, but the main thing is to qualify for the World Cup.
"That's just a notch under my belt, but that's not really the important thing right now. That's a personal thing, but football is a team game. And I'm very happy for the victory today."
And Yorke had a message for all the fans who supported the Warriors on Wednesday.
"The message from me and the message from the players is that 'keep the faith'. We're headed in the right direction, but again let's not get ahead of ourselves. We know that there's two games remaining. Tonight is a fantastic result and quite rightly so.
"Everybody should enjoy it and enjoy the occasion, but then back to the drawing board in less than a month's time, and then see where we go from there," Yorke concluded.

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