Trinidad and Tobago succumbed to two easy first half goals to eventually fall 3-1 to giants Mexico in Wednesdays CONCACAF 2006 semifinal round World Cup qualifier before a partisan crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
A double by prolific goalscorer Jesus Arellano and one from Jared Borgetti gave the Mexicans their first win of the round while Stern John pulled one back for T&T minutes before the interval.
Playing their first major match of the campaign at home, the Soca Warriors got a massive turn out after the country escaped the wrath of hurricane Ivan but they were stunned on 28 seconds when a slip up by defender Marvin Andrews allowed Arellano to latch on to the ball on the left side and he grasped the gift by sending his shot wide of a diving Kelvin Jack into the far corner for the opening item.
It was the worse possible start for skipper Angus Eve and his men and they then took a while to settle as the Mexicans doubled their advantage when another defensive lapse allowed Luiz Perezs well drifted ball to fall for Borgetti and he got it over a hopeless Jack who appeared to react slow off his line.
Before that, John held off two defenders before trying to find Errol McFarlane but goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez intercepted. T&T didnt lie down and were getting their act together as the fans applauded good passing and challenging but it occurred only in spurts.
On 18 minutes Jack pushed away a shot from Jose Salvador as Antonio Naelson, Borgetti and Arellano were combining excellently in T&Ts half. Defender Brent Sancho was a workhorse throughout and he had to depend on the support of Andrews, Dennis Lawrence, Kenwyne Jones and Marlon Rojas to avoid the Mexicans from pulling away with a sizeable advantage.
Just before the 20 minute mark, Rahim and Dwarika combined nicely on the right with Rahims cross finding McFarlane inside the box but he was unable to get a proper shot off to trouble Sanchez.
Soon after Jack saved Arellanos effort, Rahim had T&Ts best try on the half hour mark as his low effort was deflected inches wide of the right post.
T&T got back into the fight when McFarlane was fouled on the right corner of the box and Eve sent a well taken kick into the six yard for John to powerfully head home for a 2-1 scoreline. The crowd went wild as John raised his hands in a call for them to fill the stadium with their voices. That certainly spurred on T&T and a quick give and go between Rojas and Rahim saw the latter cut in from the left flank but his ball was easily taken by the keeper. John then held one up for the onrushing Dwarika to run onto on the edge of the area but his shot was blocked.
The second half started with T&T looking much more purposeful than they had started the first and a run down the left to the touchline by John almost had the Mexicans in trouble as Rahim got involved but Dwarika couldnt get on the end of the play as the visitors cleared to safety.
On 55 minutes, Rojas found John on the left of the box once more and he moved in near the line before seeing his shot blocked.
Mexico continued to play confidently though and looked dangerous each time they went on the attack but Sancho and company kept them at bay. Andrews ran in and up to challenge Borgetti for a ball resulting in a clash of heads forcing both men to leave the action for treatment. Andrews later received three stitches for a cut to the forehead.
Dwarika, who showed glimpses of his dribbling ability, and Eve both seemed to run out of gas as the half progressed. Jones and Rahim then made way for Andre Boucaud and Cornell Glen while forward Jason Scotland also got a late run but Mexico sealed the three points in the 80th minute when Arellano sprung to life as he ran past three defenders who failed to put a tackle in and clinically shot low into the right corner to leave it at a 3-1 victory in favour of the Mexicans.