|Trinidad & Tobago||Peru|
|Kenwyne Jones (75')|
|2006-05-10||Hasely Crawford Stadium||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||20000|
Peru rattle Warriors
|Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup-bound footballers gave a muted farewell to their fans yesterday, coming from behind, to draw 1-1 with Peru in a friendly international at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.|
Substitute Kenwyne Jones fired in a free kick in the 75th minute to equalise the scores after Gustavo Enrique Vasallo, capitalised on a defensive blunder to put the visitors ahead in the 32nd.
Football fans, numbering slightly less than the sell-out crowd that was expected and in the vicinity of 18,000, were getting the last chance to see the national team play at home before they head out for Europe this weekend and the World Cup Finals from June 9 to July 9.
However, coach Leo Beenhakker would have been disappointed at the display of the World Cup debutants who squandered at least eight scoring chances against a Peruvian team whose defence thwarted the Trinidad and Tobago strikers at every turn.
Russell Latapy, playing his last international match at home, brought the crowd to their feet in the seconds after the kick-off threading his way through the Peruvian defence and firing off a right-footed shot which slid past the goalmouth.
Ten minutes later, the “Little Magician” was again denied by goalkeeper Leao Butron Gotuzzo who parried a shot at point blank range.
Latapy showed flashes of brilliance, weaving his way through the midfield and making penetrative passes along the right and left flanks and his every touch of the ball was greeted by loud cheers from the crowd.
They were undoubtedly mindful of the fact that they will never see him play again in national team colours at home and he was fittingly given a rousing send-off when he was substituted close to half-time.
The Peruvians, though not fielding their strongest team since they failed to bring their biggest stars who are playing in Europe, nevertheless showed they were a tough team to beat and provided an adequate challenge and lesson in the South American style of play, for their hosts.
However, the opening goal was purely opportunistic as Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Kelvin Jack came out of his goal and got tangled in a terrible mix-up between his defenders Brent Sancho and Cyd Gray, which allowed Vasallo to stab home a cross into an open goal.
The crowd was momentarily silenced, but were whipped up into a frenzy minutes later when Latapy was substituted and made his farewell with a lap of honour and was acknowledged by both his teammates and players from the opposing team.
In the second half, Trinidad and Tobago played with more purpose and with some degree of urgency and were rewarded with the equaliser, when Jones expertly took a freekick just outside the six-yard-box to knot the scores.
The fans who came looking for a farewell victory appeared to be appeased by the now customary come-from-behind strike from their heroes and were content to forget the multitude of near misses which if they found their mark would have left the home team winning by a clear margin.
Beenhakker would take some consolation in the fact that he did not play his best team with defender Marvin “Dog” Andrews — the lynchpin of the defence — sitting out the match.
Also, the team was playing their first match together since the second leg World Cup qualifier when they beat Bahrain 1-0, to clinch the spot in the World Cup Finals.
Yesterday’s match was witnessed by Prime Minister Patrick Manning who met the players before the kick-off.
The Soca Warriors now participate in a Road Show in Tobago today and in Trinidad tomorrow before leaving in two batches over the weekend for Manchester, England, where they will be engaged in a camp before heading out to Europe for another camp in Austria and several warm-up matches before the World Cup Finals.
Trinidad and Tobago are in Group “B” in the preliminary stages of the World Cup with England, Sweden and Paraguay. They play Sweden on June 10; England on June 15 and Paraguay on June 20.
|77' Ian Cox|
|46' Densill Theobald|
|46' Silvio Spann|
|42' Collin Samuel|
|19.||Dwight Yorke (capt.)|
|69' Jason Scotland|
|69' Kenwyne Jones|
|42'||Collin Samuel for Russell Latapy|
|46'||Densill Theobald for Christopher Birchall|
|46'||Silvio Spann for Carlos Edwards|
|69'||Jason Scotland for Dwight Yorke|
|69'||Kenwyne Jones for Stern John|
|77'||Ian Cox for Brent Sancho|