Pierre double sees T&T through
by Shaun Fuentes

A pair of goals by Joe Public striker Nigel Pierre prevented Trinidad and Tobagoís under-23 team from falling to Barbados when both teams met in a Olympic second leg qualifying match at the National Stadium there Sunday night.

T&T finished 6-3 winners on aggregate after winning the first leg 4-1 here earlier this month.

After play was almost called off before an eventual start one hour after the scheduled kick off time, T&T fell behind in the 8th minute when local defender Keyeno Thomas put the ball into his teamís net on an attempted clearance which skidded of the wet surface, leaving goalkeeper Jefferson George stranded in goal.

The Bajans who were looking for a three-goal marginal win to force extra time, increased their lead in the 25th minute through Ryan Lucas.

T&T squandered several scoring chances with CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker, who saw playing time in T&Tís 2-2 draw with Panama last Tuesday, being the main culprit.

 The local boys never panicked while behind and missed scoring opportunities late in the second half by Kerwyn Jemmot and Pierre whose free kick brought the best out of goalkeeper David Forde could have seen them getting the equaliser before it actually came.

After Barbados defender Neil Bovell was sent off for a second bookable offence, Pierre pounced on a loose ball and hit into an empty net to give the T&T squad a well-deserved draw.

Manager Richard Braithwaite said on the teamís arrival back home yesterday that he expected the Bajans would have been difficult opponents at home but believed that T&T did well under the conditions and pinpointed Finland-based professional Brent Sancho as, ďhaving an outstanding game playing in a central stopper position.Ē

The local squad will resume training with the senior outfit before going into the next round of qualification in March next year at a venue to be determined. T&T are in Group 3 along with Canada, Netherland Antilles and Guatemala.

Top two teams from three groups in that tournament will then move on to a final round in April after which the leading two sides will play in the football competition of the 2000 Sydney Olympics which takes place in New Zealand.