|Trinidad & Tobago||Honduras|
|Russell Latapy (55')|
Stern John (90')
World Cup Qualifier
|2001-06-16||Hasely Crawford Stadium||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||5500|
Honduras hit T&T hard
|THE script called for them to win their home games but the Trinidad and Tobago national football team suffered a devastating blow in their 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign yesterday afternoon. The Soca Warriors fell 4-2 to Honduras at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.|
And the defeat by the visiting Catrachos was achieved rather more easily than the scoreline might suggest. Honduras now lie in third spot on the six-team Concacaf table with four remaining home matches.
The Soca Warriors, on the other hand, need a miraculous turnaround if they are to stand any chance of earning a berth in the 2002 World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Korea and Japan.
There is still a mathematical chance, though, if coach Ian Porterfield can inspire his troops to an away win and consecutive home victories over Jamaica, Costa Rica and the United States.
But on the evidence of yesterday, it is difficult to believe that either the Scottish coach or his men are up to such a task.
After being initially cut from the squad by the technical director René Simoes, Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke had promised, in the pre-game build-up, to let his feet do the talking.
He did not say much in yesterdays match, though, managing just one shot which rolled wide to the right of the Honduran upright.
Teammate Anthony Rougier, wholike Yorkehad talked his way out of trouble with the technical staff, was no more voluble and was justifiably replaced at the interval.
A few sublime touches from talismanic midfielder Russell Latapy was as good as it got for the hosts.
Relegated to the substitutes benchas was West Ham custodian Shaka Hislopfor the first half, Latapy again confounded his critics by effortlessly shrugging off the rust of over four weeks of inactivity.
The Warriors first meaningful shot on target came within seconds of his entrance.
Nottingham Forest striker Stern John suddenly realised there was a game to be won and let fly a blistering right-footer. Custodian Noel Valladaress desperate block seemed to have more to do with self-preservation than the three points up for grabs.
Ironically, it was the Hondurans who benefitted from their opponents attack. They scored a splendid goal on the break through substitute, Rony Morales, in the 54th minute.
But two minutes later, Latapy answered with a composed finish from the edge of the area after some good approach work from Brent Rahim on the left flank.
For the next ten minutes, the small crowd of just under 5,000 patrons willed on their team who seemed to have grown in confidence.
But sent clear by teammate Arnold Dwarika in the 60th minute, John failed to keep his shot down.
Four minutes later, an ambitious effort from Mickey Trotman deflected off the wrong side of the upright after a well worked one-two with Latapy.
But it was a case of showing up at the terminus after the bus had departed. And there were only smiling Honduran faces on board.
Employing a delightful mixture of pace and creativity, the Hondurans were clearly the better prepared team in what began as a bottom of the table clash.
They needed barely ten minutes to show who were the better side. A wayward Rahim pass was picked off by Honduran skipper Carlos Pavón who sent the impressive David Suazo clear only for his shot to flash past the far post, goalkeeper Clayton Inces defence left to resemble mere spectators in the play.
It would be a recurring theme during the match.
Suazo, who scored four times in the 2000 Olympic Games, has made just 11 senior team appearances owing to a relentless tug-of-war between Italian Serie B team Cagliari and national coach Ramón Maradiaga.
For almost 90 minutes, the T&T defence struggled to get near the speedy, skilful forwardand rarely managed to stop him.
His pace won two penalties from sweeper Dennis Lawrence and Ince respectively which were converted by Pavón in the 13th minute and playmaker Amado Guevara in the 89th.
Suazo was also instrumental in Moraless item, early in the second half, after another incisive Honduran counter-attack.
But while his direct approachwhich has earned him comparisons with Brazilian superstar Ronaldoregularly unsettled the T&T backline, the guile of Guevara was equally effective.
Guevaras slipped pass for midfielder Danilo Turcios in the 22nd minute was worth at least half of his goal.
His partnership with José Luis Thin Man Piñeda in the midfield was irresistible and, for once, left Reynold Carrington looking woefully out of his depth.
Still, it was substitute Morales who had the visitors best move with just his second touch of the game.
One flick of the left boot created the necessary space, the other sent the ball crashing past Ince at his far post for a then three-nil advantage.
John managed his first goal of the qualifying campaign in stoppage time after a Dwarika through pass but it was too late to save the match.
The technical staff failed to turn up for the scheduled post-game media conference to discuss it but, obviously, a whole lot more is now needed to save the Warriors faltering campaign as well.
|21.||Clayton Ince 88 '|
|4.||Marvin Andrews (capt.)|
|52' Russell Latapy|
|7.||Dennis Lawrence 12 '|
|11.||Brent Rahim 79 '|
|17.||Anthony Rougier 41 '|
|45' Dale Saunders|
|69' Carlos Edwards|
|45'||Dale Saunders for Anthony Rougier|
|52'||Russell Latapy for Reynold Carrington|
|69'||Carlos Edwards for Mickey Trotman|