|Slovenia||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Christopher Birchall (25')|
|2006-05-31||Stade Evry-Bodnoufle||Celje, Slovenia||4000|
Novakovic punishes promising T&T
|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.
Trinidad and Tobago: Hislop, Yorke, Stern John, Edwards (Sancho 46), Lawrence, Avery John, Birchall, Scotland, Theobold, Gray, Whitley (Wise 69).
Subs Not Used: Jack, Cox, Andrews, Latapy, Samuel, Glen, Charles Wolfe .
(Not in squad were Clayton Ince, Kenwyne Jones and Silvio Spann)
Booked: Gray, Whitley, Birchall.
Goals: Birchall 25.
Slovenia: Borut Mavric, Ceh (Jokic 84), Lavric (Acimovic 52), Koren, Matej Mavric, Kokot, Komac (Semler 55), Novakovic (Brecko 89), Ilic, Zavrl (Birsa 70), Zlogar (Sukalo 82).
Subs Not Used: Handanovic, Rodic, Cipot.
Booked: Ilic, Lavric.
Goals: Novakovic 4, 15, 77.
|8.||Cyd Gray 28 '|
|7.||Christopher Birchall 83 '|
|46' Brent Sancho|
|67' Evans Wise|
|19.||Dwight Yorke (capt.)|
|46'||Brent Sancho for Carlos Edwards|
|67'||Evans Wise for Aurtis Whitley|