Thu, Aug
Match Report
Trinidad & Tobago Guatemala
T&T flag Guatemala
Keon Daniel (84')

FIFA World Cup™ Qualifier
2008-09-06Hasely Crawford StadiumPort-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago9500

Guatemala snatch late equaliser from Warriors

Guatemala might had been happy when they heard the news that record goal-scorer Stern John was not selected for Trinidad and Tobago. If anyone from T&T cant recall, Guatemala surely can- leading 2-1 and two minutes of regulation time left on the clock, striker Stern John came up big when he scored a double that would send Guatemala crashing out of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers and T&T coming away 3-2 winners in the process.

 But this time Guatemala had the final say after Trinidad and Tobago were held to a 1-1 draw by the Central Americans in their opening home game of group stage qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Once again ! it was the Tobagonian midfielder Keon Daniel getting his name on the score sheet in the 84th minute making him the top goal scorer for T&T in this competition with 3 goals in 2 qualifying matches.

Keon’s goal was however canceled out by defender Carlos Gallardo in the 90th minute to earn his team a vital away point and, Guatemala’s only point thus far as they lost their opening home game to USA (1-0). Despite the final result in Port of Spain T&T sits in a better position than the visitors though with 4 points in the bag and still a strong contender for the top two spots available.

Coach Maturana decided to use a more defensive approach with a 4-5-1 formation leaving Cornell Glen as the lone striker. His plans however didn’t go as expected and had to make two substitute at the half opting for a more attacking role. Edwards and Theobald was quickly removed for Wolfe and Toussaint respectively. A change that would make a huge difference especially with Toussaint who had some mazy runs at the Guatemalan defence that caused them some nervous moments.

T&T defence basically held strong throughout the 90 minutes with Keyeno Thomas and Dennis Lawrence in particular making some important interceptions. Marvin Phillip held quite well between the sticks and were minutes away from a clean sheet. Captain Dwight Yorke sporting the number 17-shirt spread some intelligent passes around and Carlos Edwards, substitute Andre Toussaint and Cornell Glen had a few sparks for the men in red, white and black.

Guillermo Ramirez had a fun time with Avery John who allowed him tons of space, hard working defender Cyd Gray looked a bit tired at times but held his own nonetheless. Densill Theobald and Clyde Leon had some vanishing moments and finally Anthony Wolfe… did he play ?

But it was Keon Daniel who grabbed the headlines for T&T though. From “hero to vaillant” in a space of seven minutes. Dwight Yorke who made his first appearance for Trinidad since retiring after the 2006 World Cup set up Daniel at the top of the box to unleash a power-shot past Luis Molina into the top right hand corner of the net in the 83rd minute. Daniel however, would give away an injury-time free kick after committing a foul on Ramirez, well at least according to Panamaian referee Roberto Moreno that is and, Carlos Gallardo wasted no time when he intercepted Marco Pappa’s free kick to tuck the ball into the back of the net with a neat flick that left goalkeeper Marvin Phillip clutching at straws and the host shocked, Guatemala‘s party had just started, "pay back at last". Time ran out for the Warriors and with no Stern John to the rescue this time, T&T had to settle for a point. But all is not done for the Warriors because there is still 12 points to play for in this group. Whether they get it or not, well that’s another story.

Apart from the estimated 10,000 fans that showed up to view the match at the Hasley Crawford Stadium- spectators such as FIFA president Sepp Blatter, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago George Maxwell Richards, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Gary Hunt, UEFA president Michel Platini, President of the Guatemala FA Oscar Arroyo, Brazil Football Confederation President Ricardo Teixiera and English FA chairman Lord David Triesman were all in attendance.

The Soca Warriors meantime will regroup as quickly as possible and put this disappointing result behind them as they must shift all focus on CONCACAF powerhouse and group leaders USA who, they face in 4-days time. USA, by the way were 1-0 winners over Cuba in Havana yesterday, a Clint Dempsey‘s goal was enough for the visitors.

T&T departs on Sunday for the United States where they will play that country at Toyota Park, Chicago, September 10th in another World Cup qualifying showdown, game starts at 8pm EST and will be aired live on ESPN. Let’s hope they don’t give us any VISA problems this time around.

Defender Avery John who was not having such a good game will be suspended for T&T/USA match after receiving his second yellow card in as much games and will not travel with the T&T contingent to the windy city. Expected to take his place on the team could go to either Toronto FC’s Julius James or Left-back Aklie Edwards of local outfit Defence Force.

It is also understood that Dwight Yorke will miss the U.S clash as well after his Sunderland manager Roy Keane insisted his veteran midfielder not travel with the T&T team and rejoin Sunderland in time for Saturday's game against Wigan Athletic, which I am sure he will not be featured in ....anyway. With Aurtis Whitley out through injury, Khaleem Hyland (suspended) and iron-man Christopher Birchall (not summoned) T&T midfield will surely be an interesting one to watch come Wednesday.

T&T: - 1.Marvin Phillip, 8.Cyd Gray, 6.Dennis Lawrence, 5.Keyeno Thomas, 3.Avery John, 7.Carlos Edwards (14.Anthony Wolfe 46th), 17.Dwight Yorke (capt), 12.Densill Theobald (10.Andre Toussaint 46th), 2.Clyde Leon, 9.Keon Daniel, 13.Cornell Glen (14.Kerry Baptiste 88th).

Guatemala: - 1.Ricardo Trigueno (18.Luis Molina 62nd), 4.Yoni Flores, 5.Carlos Gallardo, 2.Carlos Castillo (15.Fredy Thompson 89th), 14.Luis Rodriguez, 16.Jean Marquez, 12.Jose Contreras (13.Marco Pappa 76th), 7.Mario Rodriguez, 11.Guillermo Ramirez (capt), 10.Fredy Garcia, 9.Carlos Ruiz.

Yellow Cards T&T: - Avery John, Cornell Glen.

1.Marvin Phillip
8.Cyd Gray
3.Avery John Yellow Card 70 '
6.Dennis Lawrence
5.Keyeno Thomas
19.Keon Daniel
7.Subbed outCarlos Edwards
 Subbed in 46' Andre Toussaint
2.Clyde Leon
12.Subbed outDensill Theobald
 Subbed in 46' Anthony Wolfe
17.Dwight Yorke (capt.)
13.Subbed outCornell Glen Yellow Card 86 '
 Subbed in 88' Kerry Baptiste
15.Kerry Baptiste
10.Andre Toussaint
14.Anthony Wolfe Yellow Card 91 '
18.Jan-Michael Williams
16.Julius James
4.Osei Telesford
11.Jason Scotland
 Francisco Maturana
46'Subbed outSubbed inAndre Toussaint for Carlos Edwards
46'Subbed outSubbed inAnthony Wolfe for Densill Theobald
88'Subbed outSubbed inKerry Baptiste for Cornell Glen
70'Yellow CardAvery John
86'Yellow CardCornell Glen
91'Yellow CardAnthony Wolfe