(19 May 2000) -- Trinidad & Tobago booked
a trip to the semifinal round of The Football Confederation World
Cup qualifying after their 1-1 second-leg draw with Haiti in front of a colorful crowd in Port-au-Prince. T&T won
the tie, 4-2 on aggregate.
Haitian forward Golman Pierre's injury-time
goal from the first leg had given Haiti hope for the return leg, as a 2-0
victory would have sent them through on away goals.
Haiti's dream of qualification for the semifinal round was not to be on this day, however.
A 25th-minute goal from T&T's world-class
striker Dwight Yorke, a last-minute arrival from England on Friday
afternoon, put Haiti in a 4-1 hole, and silenced the previously festive crowd.
Haiti refused to wilt, however, and continued
to play attacking soccer the rest of the half. They could not
penetrate the stingy Trinidadian defense, however, and the hosts went into the dressing rooms still trailing by a
Haiti searched desperately for the equalizer
after the break, and poured on the pressure as the half progressed.
Dieuphene Thelamour appeared set to pull Haiti even in the 78th minute, but Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper
Clayton Ince came up with a brilliant save on a ball that looked headed for the upper right corner of the net.
A minute later, Bruny Pierre Richard had a
scoring opportunity in the box, but his effort went just wide of the right
Thelamour finally found the back of the net
in the 82nd minute, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Franze Gille
played a high, arcing cross to Thelamour, who outleaped Ince and headed home the tying goal.
The goal seemed to serve as a wake up call
to Trinidad & Tobago, and their defense clamped down to keep Haiti
from creating any more dangerous chances the rest of the way.
T&T will join Mexico as definites in Group
C for the semifinal qualifying round. The group likely will include
Honduras and Canada as well.
Haiti's World Cup qualifying campaign is not
yet finished. The loss send Haiti into an Interregional matchup, likely
against Panama, for the right to advance to semifinal round Group D.