|Costa Rica||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Arnold Dwarika (26')|
Mickey Trotman (102')
CONCACAF Gold Cup
|2000-02-20||Qualcomm Stadium||San Diego, CA, United States||18062|
Golden goal puts T&T in Gold Cup semifinal
|FANTASTIC, remarkable, spirited. All three words can describe Trinidad and Tobago's 2-1 victory in sudden-death extra time over Costa Rica in a Gold Cup quarter-final before about 13,000 fans at the Qualcomm Stadium yesterday.|
Mickey Trotman's strike with four minutes remaining in the first half of the added on time, put the Soca Warriors through to their first ever semi-finals of the Football Confederation tournament.
On Thursday T&T will face Canada in one semi-final. Canada beat Mexico in similar fashion, 2-1 in sudden-death extra-time in their quarter-final clash in Los Angeles. Coach Bertille St Clair held his head in disbelief when in the 69th minute substitute William Hidalgo snatched an injury time equaliser.
Then the Tobagonian embraced team manager Richard Braithwaite in joy when Trotman, who replaced Jerron Nixon (in the 60th minute) received a pass from Arnold Dwarika to rifle home the Golden Goal in the 101th minute of the match.
"I have been saying over the years that Trinidad and Tobago has an abundance of talent. What we lacked was the attitude and the discipline and the organisation. "We have now begun to focus on that and are beginning to see the rewards. Now we will be force to be reckoned with," said St Clair after the match.
The victory was certainly one of the hardest won by a T&T team in top class competition for quite some time.
Captain Anthony Rougier and his men absorbed almost non-stop pressure after Dwarika had put them ahead in the 26th minute.
Similar to their first-half display against Mexico, T&T outfitted in white and playing their first match of the competition without Dwight Yorke, enjoyed the better of exchanges for much of the 45 minutes.
T&T will look forward to the return of Yorke who sustained a injury which is not fully known, in action for United against Leeds yesterday.
Dwarika finished the game with a swollen ankle and Latapy with a groin strain. However, both are expected to be ready for Thursday's "semi."
From the word go, skipper Rougier came out gunning against the Central Americans. FC Zurich striker Jerren Nixon, making his first start in place of Yorke, had the Costa Rican defence on their toes with his agility and speed.
Nixon, in the 13th minute, powered a shot against goalkeeper Hermidio Barrantes from an acute angle on the left and Dwarika lost his footing going for the rebound. Five minutes later, after at least eight passes were strung from the centre of the field, Nixon fired a left-footer wide of the upright.
Midfielder Russell Latapy cracked a free-kick which had Barrantes pushing out. Then the Little Magician played a ball into the box and Barrantes and Pablo Vega got into a mix- up, allowing the on-spot Dwarika to slam home the loose ball from close-up.
That goal woke up the Central Americans and they would have at least five missed chances against the suspect T&T defence before the break.
Goalkeeper Clayton Ince, who enjoyed his best performance of the tournament saved low an attempt by veteran Hernan Medford on the left and moments after coming on, Jafet Soto's left-footer flashed wide from inside the 18-yard box.
T&T were pressed into half of the field from the start of the second period. Wanchope headed overbar from Medford's right- side cross and for most of the opening ten minutes the 1990 World Cup finalists lived around the T&T goal area.
After 48 minutes, T&T almost got the item to hold off the Costa Ricans when Dwarika intercepted a pass by Mauricio Wright and found Latapy, who body-shook the same player and left another one skating before hitting over from the edge of the box.
The T&T backline continued to resist pressure and Ince had to pull off his best save in the 62nd minute when Soto's close-range effort had the tall custodian pulling off a reflex save.
Wilmer Lopez then saw his left-footer from the six-yard box squirm wide and Soto's header saved.
Medford then broke down the right and luckily for T&T, he shot into the side netting. Rare second-half tries by Latapy and Dwarika's shot which rebounded off the right post was all T&T could see off the Costa Rican goal.
As the clock ticked away, T&T came under more pressure but they stood up like giants. Just when it seemed T&T were through to the semifinals, Hidalgo buried a low drive from the edge past Ince for a dramatic equaliser.
T&T, who had Brent Rahim replacing "Latas" and Wise for Angus Eve, started the extra-time rejuvenated, while Costa Rica ran out of gas.
After Victor Codero headed into the path of Dwarika, the dreadlocked player found Trotman, whose shot deflected off Codero into the net. Trotman led the victory charge into the dressing room, while midfielder David Nakhid knelt with outstretched hands praising his god.
"The feeling was just so unbelievable, I just felt like celebrating with a difference. I knew it was a victory so it was like 'Let's go home.' I have to thank the coach Bertille
St Clair and manager Richard Braithwaite and the players for believing in me. "I knew when I went on the field that something special was in the air," an elated Trotman, who also scored in T&T's 1-2 loss to the same opponents last month, said afterwards.
T&T are expected to move to Los Angeles on Tuesday for their semi-final outing.
About 100 Trinidad and Tobago supporters watched the game live.
|13.||Ansil Elcock 80 '|
|86' Evans Wise|
|87' Brent Rahim|
|17.||Anthony Rougier (capt.)|
|60' Mickey Trotman|
|Bertille St. Clair|
|60'||Mickey Trotman for Jerren Nixon|
|86'||Evans Wise for Angus Eve|
|87'||Brent Rahim for Russell Latapy|