|Trinidad & Tobago||Panama|
|Anthony Rougier (3')|
Dwight Yorke (36')
Angus Eve (59')
Dwight Yorke (61')
Nigel Pierre (77')
FIFA World Cup™ Qualifier
|2000-08-16||Queens Park Oval||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||18000|
6 good reasons to party in rain
|NOT even heavy torrential showers could stop football fans from celebrating down Tragarete Road well into last night.|
And they had a lot of reasons to get happy.
Actually, they had six of them.
Stand-in skipper Dwight Yorke and his teammates pounded six goals past a hapless Panama in their crucial Football Confederation 2002 World Cup semi-final qualifier at the Queens Park Oval.
The emphatic victory pushed T&T to the top of Group C with a maximum nine points from their three matches.
Mexico, who stopped Canada 2-0 on Tuesday and were tied with T&T, are now second with six points.
Canada and Panama have one point each and face a huge task to get back into the race.
That means T&T have just one more match to win or draw to make it into the next round of World Cup qualifiers.
That match is on September 3 against Canada when skipper Russell Latapy will rejoin the side.
The Oval wore red yesterday. A music truck was circling outside blaring soca and rallying 17,000 supporters.
Yorke, in his first game as captain, led by example with a double in the 36th and 62nd minutes.
Former skipper Anthony Rougier, Angus Eve and substitute Nigel Pierre scored the other three goals.
But Panamanian Jorge Dely Valdes also put the ball past his own keeper, Ricardo James, to complete a miserable day for the conquered Spanish-speaking country.
Spirits soared soon after the first whistle. People became believers right from the beginning when Rougier gave the men in red, white and black a dream start after just two minutes.
The 29-year-old utility player, given a start by coach Ian Porterfield ahead of defender Shurland David, arrived unmarked inside the six-metre box and outjumped the Panama defence to head in a right-side free kick from Eve.
Panamas shaky defence, marshalled by Reinaldo Lewis, would prove to be their downfall. Lewis and company panicked almost every time Yorke touched the ball in the penalty area.
And so the door was opened up for other T&T players to storm in and get shots on the goal.
Still, despite the pressure applied from the T&T midfield, which included Lyndon Andrewsthe suspended Latapys replacementReynold Carrington, Eve and Masonthe second goal would not come until the 26th minute.
Both Yorke and defender Dennis Lawrence were lurking inside the six-metre box when Eve delivered a left-side cross.
And when Lawrence dummied the ball, Yorke hit towards goal. Keeper James managed to block the shot but the loose ball was inadvertently put back into the net by Dely Valdes.
Ten minutes later, the 28-year-old Yorke got his first goal, trapping a left-side cross from Mason in between two defenders inside the six-metre box and hitting a right-footer into the roof of Jamess net.
Porterfield was forced to replace Switzerland-based Jerren Nixon with Nigel Pierre just before the interval. And after the break, it was more of the same.
Eve was next to get his name on the scoresheet on the hour mark, running onto a through ball from Andrews (L) and rifling a shot in off the right upright of keeper Jamess goalpost.
Yorke then got his second, curling a first-time right-footer around James from just inside the penalty area, off a right-side feed from Eve.
And then came Pierre. He put the ball over the head of an advancing James after Yorke sent him on a clear path to goal number six.
T&T 6 (Anthony Rougier 2nd; OG 26th; Dwight Yorke 36th & 62nd; Angus Eve 60th; Nigel Pierre 78th) v Panama 0
|69' Carlos Edwards|
|82' Arnold Dwarika|
|19.||Dwight Yorke (capt.)|
|43' Nigel Pierre|
|43'||Nigel Pierre for Jerren Nixon|
|69'||Carlos Edwards for Angus Eve|
|82'||Arnold Dwarika for Stokely Mason|