Sat, Jun
Match Report
Martinique Trinidad & Tobago
Martinique T&T flag
 Arnold Dwarika (pen 15')
Jason Scotland (43')

Concacaf Gold Cup Qualifier
2003-04-23Stade Pierre-AlikerFort-de-France, Martinique0

Warriors face Gold Cup elimination

“IT WAS a shock for us,” said Trinidad and Tobago national football team interim coach Zoran Vranes. “We saw ourselves already in the Gold Cup. We are working all day to put it behind us and work on (our) game ahead.“We still have (a) chance because football is football.”

Trinidad and Tobagos chances of qualifying for the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup took a massive blow on Wednesday night as the “Soca Warriors” fell 3-2 to Martinique in a playoff match at the Stade d’honneur de Dillon in Fort-de-France.

The Warriors now require a win against Honduras from seven o’clock tonight at the same venue, as well as a favourable result when Honduras meet the tournament hosts on Sunday.

Two of the three teams will join Jamaica, Cuba and eight other national outfits—including guests Brazil and Colombia—at the Gold Cup finals.

Should Trinidad and Tobago not qualify, it will be the first time they have failed to do so since 1993, when Jamaica and Martinique represented the Caribbean.

Ten years later, though, T&T have failed to get one of three invitations provided to the region.

Remarkably, there is still a fourth ticket available, but Vranes must lead his men past Honduras to get it.

The Central American team have split their last four meetings with T&T at two wins apiece.

Trinidad and Tobago football fans would remember an emphatic 4-2 Honduras win over the Warriors two years ago at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

However, the Hondurans would be similarly haunted by a subsequent 1-0 home loss to the Caribbean team which ended their 2002 World Cup qualifying chances.

Birmingham City striker Stern John got the winner then but will be again absent tonight, while team captain Marvin “Dog” Andrews left Martinique yesterday to rejoin his Scottish Premiership employer, Livingston.

However, Vranes has taken heart from the fact that Honduras are also understrength. They travelled to Martinique minus their Europe-based stars, including gifted Italian-based strikers David Suazo and Carlos Pavon.

The T&T technical staff know little else about an opponent who watched them play on Wednesday and have the added benefit of fresher legs for today’s crucial encounter.

By all reports, Wednesday’s game was an enthralling affair.

The visitors struck first from the penalty spot with playmaker Arnold Dwarika converting in the 13th minute after a foul on Cornell Glen.

And Jason Scotland made it 2-0—three minutes before the break—with a volley from Glen’s cross.

Vranes, who studied tapes of Martinique’s recent 2-2 Gold Cup qualifying draw with Jamaica, would have been pleased to take a comfortable lead into the dressing room after promising to use offence as his main form of defence.

Perhaps, he should have also gotten a video tape of Martinique’s final Caribbean qualifier—just three weeks ago—when they overturned a 4-1 scoreline to whip St Lucia 5-4 with a remarkable 25-minute burst.

In front of a supportive 12,000 crowd, the Frenchmen provided an encore after Reynold Carrington, Scotland and Dwarika failed to capitalise on scoring chances.

“I cannot understand how Dwarika or Scotland did not score,” said Vranes, “Then they (Martinique) scored and that changed the game.”

Jose Goron—who scored three times in their last group stage—gave Martinique life with a flick past T&T goalkeeper Kelvin Jack in the 66th minute while, two minutes later, Yann Girier-Dufournier brought the hosts level with a fierce left footer.

Vranes responded by introducing the combative Travis Mulraine and workmanlike Brent Rahim to the midfield, but it failed to stem the flow.

And, seven minutes from time, Martinique virtually booked their Gold Cup pass with a strike from Dominique Reyal, who was afforded too much room by Andrews.

The Warriors were left wondering what went wrong.

“They did very nicely in the first half,” said Vranes. “They simply got tired and couldn’t respond to what we wanted from them and they couldn’t get back (to) where they were supposed to be...

“We were not physically fit as our team have been working (for) just two weeks together.”

It is uncertain what the benefit of two extra days would do for the Warriors’ chances against Honduras tonight.

T&T (vs Martinique): Kelvin Jack; Brent Sancho, Keyeno Thomas, Marvin Andrews (captain), Cyd Gray, Reynold Carrington, Ansil Elcock, Silvio Spann (Travis Mulraine 72), Arnold Dwarika, Jason Scotland (Nigel Pierre 72), Cornell Glen (Brent Rahim 78).

20.Kelvin Jack
4.Marvin Andrews (capt.)
3.Reynold Carrington
13.Ansil Elcock
7.Cyd Gray
5.Brent Sancho
2.Keyeno Thomas Yellow Card 17 '
9.Arnold Dwarika
15.Subbed outSilvio Spann
 Subbed in 72' Travis Mulraine
11.Subbed outCornell Glen
 Subbed in 79' Brent Rahim
10.Subbed outJason Scotland
 Subbed in 72' Nigel Pierre
8.Travis Mulraine
14.Brent Rahim
19.Nigel Pierre
 Zoran Vranes
72'Subbed outSubbed inNigel Pierre for Jason Scotland
72'Subbed outSubbed inTravis Mulraine for Silvio Spann
79'Subbed outSubbed inBrent Rahim for Cornell Glen
17'Yellow CardKeyeno Thomas