|Trinidad & Tobago||Panama|
|Stern John (34')|
Dennis Lawrence (71')
FIFA World Cup™ Qualifier
|2005-06-04||Hasely Crawford Stadium||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||18000|
T&T 2 Panama 0
|Trinidad and Tobago are firmly back in the 2006 World Cup qualifying
picture after claiming a 2-0 victory over Panama at the Hasely Crawford
Stadium yesterday, their first success in the final round.|
The Warriors' maiden victory in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying means they leave here tomorrow in fifth place and with four points going into Wednesday's equally-important match against Mexico in Monterey.
A 34th minute strike by experienced forward Stern John and a second in the 71st minute from overlapping stopper Dennis Lawrence set up a fabulous win as the home team gave their best performance of the entire qualifying campaign.
Playing their first competitive game under Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, the T&T Warriors looked a significantly improved team against Panama, who themselves were quick, skilful and extremely dangerous on the counter-attack.
The Warriors had marginally the better of the first half in what was a good game.
Struggling striker John might have had two goals in the first half alone when presented with excellent goal-scoring opportunities.
Carlos Edwards had an excellent game and was a constant threat down the Panamanian right where he breezed past Carlos Rivera-who later had to be substituted-at will.
Edwards set up John's first chance with a square pass on the platter in the 23rd minute after ghosting past Rivera, but John stabbed the excellent opportunity wide.
However, the Coventry City striker made amends 11 minutes later when scooping a low pass from striker partner Dwight Yorke past Panama keeper Donald Gonzales to give T&T their opening goal.
And a sea of red exploded into euphoria in a near-packed Hasely Crawford Stadium.
There was much to like about the Warriors' performance. Beenhakker had no surprises in his squad except including Kelvin Jack in goal at the expense of Clayton Ince, while Densil Theobald got the nod over Leslie Fitzpatrick at left midfield.
The Dutchman got a polished performance from all of his Warriors, who stroked the ball around the park like few in Trinidad and Tobago had seen in recent times.
Panama always looked dangerous but credit must go to the T&T midfield and defence.
At the back, T&T battled doggedly, while Chris Birchall, Aurtis Whitley, Theobald and Edwards had excellent runs in midfield.
After a spell of second half pressure, a superb Trinidad and Tobago performance was sealed in the 71st minute with a second goal from lanky defender Lawrence.
The Wrexham player started the move in midfield and also finished it with aplomb.
Collecting in centre field, the overlapping stopper hit the ball wide to Yorke and then ran into space to collect the return pass atop the penalty area, where he eluded a retreating defender and stroked the ball low past keeper Gonzales.
It completed a well-deserved victory for Trinidad and Tobago.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:
Kelvin Jack, Dennis Lawrence, Marvin Andrews, Avery John , Atiba Charles, Carlos Edwards, Chris Birchall, Aurtis Whitley, Densill Theobald, Stern John (Kenwyne Jones), Dwight Yorke.
Subs unused: Hector Sam, Leslie Fitzpatrick, Marlon Rojas, Brent Rahim, Clayton Ince, Anton Pierre.
|4.||Marvin Andrews 62 '|
|11.||Carlos Edwards 79 '|
|19.||Dwight Yorke (capt.)|
|72' Kenwyne Jones|
|15.||Kenwyne Jones 73 '|
|72'||Kenwyne Jones for Stern John|