Trinidad and Tobago vs Guatemala

T&T keep hopes alive

     By Shaun Fuentes
     in Los Angeles

     TRINIDAD and Tobago football coach Bertille St Clair got a big boost in his quest to
     renew his contract when the Soca Warriors pulled off a terrific 4-2 romp over Guatemala
     in their final Group C match at the Los Angeles Coliseum on a chilly Tuesday night.
     The victory, through goals by Russell Latapy (26 th minute), Arnold Dwarika (36th),
     David Nakhid (52nd) and Dwight Yorke (83rd) virtually booked T&T in the quarter-finals
     of the Football Confederation tournament for the first time.

    Of significance also was the fact that Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke broke his
     recent scoring streak, giving one of his best performances in a T&T jersey for almost a
     decade.

    St Clair, whose contract as coach ends shortly came in for praise from the team
     members including Yorke, Dwarika, Latapy and manager Richard Braithwaite.
     They all hope that the coach will be part of their quest in realising the dream of qualifying
     for the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup.

    "Hopefully the people of Trinidad and Tobago could appreciate the efforts the coach
     Bertille St Clair has put in," said Yorke, who promised his Tobagonian mentor a goal
     mere minutes before kick-off.

    "I just want to thank the coach for getting us ready for this match, especially after the big
     loss to Mexico. We knew it was going to be difficult to come back against Guatemala.
     Hopefully Mexico will do us a favour so we can go through to the next round," added
     Yorke.

     Dwarika, who rose to the occasion after gaining the nod over Mickey Trotman for the
     chance to play alongside Yorke for the first time in his career, also paid tribute to St
     Clair.

    "I want to congratulate Mr Bertille for helping keep our spirits up and letting us know that
     it was not the end of the road after we lost to Mexico. This one was also a special one
     for my team mate Ronnie Mauge (injured out with broken leg). We went out there and
     did what we were supposed to do and now we look forward to the next round," said
     Dwarika.

     Captain Anthony Rougier and his "Soca Warriors" took the field in front of a partisan
     crowd of 23,621 of which some 150 were "Trini" supporters.
     The Guatemalans, who knocked T&T out of the 1991 competition with a 1-0 win,
     showed early intentions of taking the attack to their opponents.

     T&T slowly got into stride and "Latas," playing with a slight injury, would have hoped to
     do better with his direct free-kick which missed the left post from the edge of the 18-yard
     box.

     Guatemala worked most of their attacks from the right and fortunately for T&T,
     Everaldo Valencia was rusty with his crossing.

    T&T got their opening goal with a quickly taken free-kick following a foul on Angus Eve.
     Latapy found Yorke, who with his back to the goal, sharply slipped a pass behind him for
     the on-rushing "Little Magician" to beat goalkeeper Edgar Estrada.

    The entire T&T bench was on their feet and "Latas" celebrated in style by raising his
     jersey and pointed to the under top which was worn by all the players reading "This is for
     Ronnie."

     But those celebrations were shortlived as three minutes later the Guatemalans equalised
     when Carlos Plata stabbed home from close range from a left-side corner by Valencia.
     T&T, who had Eve and Marvin Andrews picking up yellow cards, refused to drop any
     gears and seven minutes later, Dwarika's glancing header beat Estrada on his far post
     from a Latapy right-side delivery.

     That goal followed a shot by Eve which was cleared by a defender after a combination
     between Yorke and the Hibernian midfielder.
     Guatemala didn't lie down and die and after a couple missed chances before the interval,
     they tied the scores two minutes into the second half.

     Goalkeeper Clayton Ince untidily dropped a long range attempt by Jorge Rodas providing
     substitute Guillermo Ramirez with a gift to tap home from close-up.
     The Guatemalan fans could have been heard two blocks away from the stadium, but
     T&T called the shots from there on.

     Dwarika sent Yorke goalwards on the left but the "Duke" saw his left-footer graze the
     right post on its way out, bringing his trademark smile into play.

     A minute later, Yorke once again showed his creative ability, taking to the ball to the
     by-line before hooking back for Nakhid to nail T&T's third goal.

     Latapy and Yorke combined again in the 64th minute but the latter cracked one wide of
     the mark from inside the box and two minutes later, fired another inches over.

     Once again Yorke smiled and the "Smiling Assassin" then showed part of his £12.6
     million worth when he calmly slotted the fourth goal from the six-yard box after Rougier
     out-muscled a Guatemalan on the right.

     Ince had to pull off two saves in the closing ten minutes but T&T were already thinking
     about their next assignment.