It was a game of two tails. T&T dominated the first half and El Salvador the second. Four goals scored and both teams shared a point each. T&T however, will have the advantage as they were the visiting team.
Midfielder Osael Romero scored two free kicks in a space of eleven minutes to secure a point for El Salvador in the first match of the final round of World Cup qualifying in San Salvador on Wednesday. T&T went into the half leading 2-0 after Carlos Edwards scored a 7 minute goal and captain Dwight Yorke ensured T&T the other with a well taken penalty in the 27th after Stern John was fouled in the box.
But T&T have only themselves to blame for El Salvador's great come back as they allowed the Central Americans to run at them in the second half with countless attacks on goal and it was only a matter of time El Salvador would get back into the game. The writing were on the walls as T&T defence was under tremendous pressure from the El Salvadorians especially in the last 20 minutes of the second half.
Striker Stern John who, had a pretty decent game until his penalty miss in the 47th minute must had been feeling the worst out there for T&T after the game. The incident happened when Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez blew for a penalty after Kenwyne Jones went down in the box. Surprisingly, Dwight Yorke left the task in the hands of T&T record goal scorer Stern John only for the Bristol City marksman to completely miss his target. His penalty almost hit a "pigeon" sitting on the top of the stadium observing the game. Well, not really, but the ball ended up in the stands, this was a bit of a relieve for El Salvador who realised that they were still in the game and from there on they dominated the proceedings until the final whistle was blown.
But Stern John was not the one who gave T&T a heartache, infact, the striker played an important role in T&T's second goal and did hold-up the ball well for his partner Jones who did nothing special on the night by the way. And, to my amusement Stern John did pitched in helping out the T&T defence. Speaking about defence. Well, it all started when T&T lost Keyeno Thomas through injury as early as the 12 minute. Makan Hislop was his replacement and did relatively good when he came on. But Thomas was surely missed as the inexperience Hislop had some nail bitting moments for T&T and did give away the free-kicks to El Salvador after committing fouls on the opponent that led the great come back.
El Salvador midfielders Eliseo Quintanilla, Osael Romero and Salvador Coreas was having a great time with Aklie Edwards on the left. The Defence Force wing-back was being chewed up as the El Salvadorians noticed that they had an easier path going down the left and continued to take that route throughout the game.
But in all fairness though, Aklie's parther Keon Daniel who by the way was having an awful game left him for dead most of the times. Silvio Spann, T&T's other wing-back was also a sight to see. Being caught out of position on many occasions and having to track back only to be left out by his man time and time again gave the T&T fans a few nerve wrecking moments. The midfielder, now rightback did have some good runs going forward though and one could sense that both wingbacks might be better utilized on the wing. But then again, I'm not the coach.
All was not bad for T&T though as captain Dwight Yorke, Clayton Ince, Dennis Lawrence and Carlos Edwards was definitely a few bright spots for the Warriors. While Chris Birchall and Kenwyne Jones had some very good moments.
Midfielder Osael Romero who was the hero for host El Salvador on the night will have to claim his $20,000 dollars prize money for each of his strikes. The El Salvador government promised $10,000 dollars a goal. Hopefully, he'll spend that wisely, maybe a new pair of goal scoring boot as they play host to CONCACAF giants United States next on March 28 while Trinidad & Tobago will be home against Honduras who fell 2-0 to Costa Rica in their opening game.
Three of the six teams in the regional final will automatically qualify for the 32-team World Cup field in South Africa. The fourth-place team will face a South American side for another berth at the tournament.
1.Clayton Ince, 3.Aklie Edwards, 6.Dennis Lawrence, 5.Keyeno Thomas (4.Makan Hislop 12th), 16.Silvio Spann, 11.Carlos Edwards, 9.Keon Daniel, 7.Christopher Birchall (2.Clyde Leon 59th), 17.Dwight Yorke (capt), 14.Stern John (Cornell Glen 77th), 15.Kenwyne Jones.
Did not play
8.Anthony Wolfe, 12.Densill Theoblad, 18.Marvin Phillip, 10.Russell Latapy.
Francisco Maturana (Colombia).
1.Juan Gomez, 2.Alexander Escobar, 3.Marvin Gonzalez, 5.Luis Hernandez (14.William Torres 33rd), 6.Shawn Martin (18.Salvador Coreas 60th), 7.Ramon Sanchez (capt), 8.Osael Romero, 9.Rudis Corrales (12.Rodolfo Zelaya 46th), 10.Eliseo Quintanilla, 15.Alfredo Pacheco, 17.Cristian Castillo.
Did not play
4.Deris Umanzor, 11.Miguel Montes, 13.Carlos Ayala, 16.Oscar Jimenez.
Carlos De Los Cobos (Mexico)
T&T 2 (Carlos Edwards 7th, Dwight Yorke 26-Pen) v SLV 2 (Osael Romero 82, 93)
Keon Daniel - Yellow Card 40th.
Dwight Yorke - Yellow Card 44th, 90th.
Christopher Birchall - Yellow Card 46th.
Carlos Edwards - Yellow Card 55th.
Clayton Ince - Yellow Card 82nd.
Dwight Yorke (T&T) 90th.
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Ragel Mexico)
Assistant Referee 2: Salvador Rodriguez (Mexico)
Fourth official: Mauricio Morales (Mexico)
San Salvador / Estadio Cuscatlan
El Salvador fined US$25,300.
T&T Express Reports.
El Salvador will have to pay a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs (US$25,300) for an inability to control its fans during their 2-2 2010 World Cup qualifying draw against Trinidad and Tobago on February 11 at San Salvador's Estadio Cuscatlan.
Throughout the match, debris rained onto the field and despite three announcements over the public address system exhorting the crowd to stop, the shower of cups and other missiles continued. World governing body FIFA frowned on that behaviour and fined El Salvador.
Also after the match, Trinidad and Tobago captain Dwight Yorke received a four-match suspension and a fine of 5,000 Swiss francs (US$4,200) for confronting Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez and his assistants following the final whistle.
Rodriguez claimed Yorke cursed him twice, drawing a post-match expulsion. But in an official statement by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, Yorke has denied the accusation and has appealed the ban. If upheld, Yorke will be unavailable for T&T's next home game against Honduras on March 28, the away game against the United States April 1, another home game June 6 against Costa Rica and an away match in Mexico on June 10.
And in other sanctions taken by FIFA's disciplinary committee, Mexico will have to do without Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez and assistant coach Francisco Ramirez for their next two World Cup qualifying matches.
Marquez was banned for crashing into and kicking US goalkeeper Tim Howard in the Americans' 2-0 victory which earned him a red card.
Assistant coach Ramirez was also issued a two-match suspension from the same game for a confrontation with US player Frankie Hejduk in the tunnel under Crew Stadium. Video showed him slapping the defender.
The suspensions will force the pair to miss Mexico's home game against Costa Rica on March 28 and their away contest at Honduras on April 1.