|Trinidad & Tobago||Bermuda|
|Stern John (22')|
World Cup Qualifier
|2008-06-15||Marvin Lee Stadium||Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago||4585|
Bermuda steal a shock win
A week from today, Trinidad and Tobago travel to Hamilton, Bermuda to rescue their World Cup football campaign.Great strides begin with baby steps, and yesterday the Soca Warriors stumbled at the first step towards South Africa 2010 when they were surprisingly defeated 2-1 by a poor quality Bermuda team in their opening match of the new campaign last night at a packed Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.
Nine out of 10 times, the Soca Warriors would have worked over that sub-standard bunch. But when both strikers Stern John and Jason Scotland missed easy chances to score in the waning moments, it summed up a huge off day for T&T. They may yet go to Bermuda and whip the islanders by a handful. But the journey to South Africa has hit choppy waters. It will now be a test of character to see if the Soca Warriors deserve to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup.
Prior to yesterday's showdown, the last five meetings between the teams produced four victories and a draw in Trinidad & Tobago's favour. And during that time, T&T scored 4-0 and 5-0 victories, including one in Hamilton seven years ago. The only joy Bermuda had in that time was a 1-0 win in 1989 against a T&T second string side at a time when the Strike Squad was engaged in World Cup qualifying.
Yesterday, Bermuda proved to be as motivated as expected and shocked the locals when leading 2-1 at the half, both goals coming from striker John-Barry Nusum. Not that Bermuda were a good team, but, the home team simply played below their usual level. T&T played ugly football at times.
First, the pace was too slow, thus playing to the strengths of the pudgy Bermudans. And when coach Francisco Maturana switched to the 3-5-2 system to include striker John at the start, he would have expected his wide players Carlos Edwards and Keon Daniel to track back at times.
But, Maturana had a problem, because none of the midfielders defended. And not until the desperate moments, did senior players like Edwards turn up the pressure. The exception, though, was striker John, who even dropped to midfield to pick up the ball.
Had Edwards bothered to track back, Bermudan Khano Smith would not have had such an easy time getting by T&T right defender Kareem Smith to set up Nusum who tapped the ball in from six metres , giving Bermuda an eighth minute lead.
Shock, yes. But the Soca Warriors were soon level at 1-1 in the 23rd minute through John, who got his 68th goal in national colours, after taking Aurtis Whitley's deep pass and bouncing the ball over keeper Timmy Figuerodo. John then missed an easy chance to get a second goal on the half hour.
And against the run of play, Bermuda were given a gift when Costa Rican referee Walter Marquesada allowed the game to continue despite T&T keeper Clayton Ince crashing into his defender Makan Hislop and going down injured. Nusum picked up the loose ball and whipped the ball into the goal in the 44th minute, giving Bermuda an unlikely 2-1 lead.
Maturana took off young midfielder Khaleem Hyland at the start of the second half and switched to the orthodox 4-4-2 system. But, it was an anxious time in the second period when the Warriors were pouring forward without reward.
On one such occasion, Whitley picked out Edwards with a searching diagonal pass, but the latter looked confused and hit a wayward pass. He should have shot to goal. And, later both Whitley and Kareem Smith had good shots from long-range, but just failed to score.
Because, T&T were loose in the midfield, the Bermudans picked up many of the loose balls. Growing in confidence, they were able to create some anxious moments, particularly through Damon Ming on the right flank, and looked capable of getting another goal.
Down the stretch, Bermuda were under siege. But by then, the Soca Warriors were in panic mode, and nothing they did produced that precious tying goal. A week from now will prove whether they are still in the World Cup picture.
|75' Stephan David|
|46' Ancil Farrier|
|9.||Aurtis Whitley (capt.)|
|46'||Ancil Farrier for Khaleem Hyland|
|75'||Stephan David for Osei Telesford|