Trinidad and Tobago 1 vs Netherlands Antilies 1

T&T get past Dutchmen
     who was in Curaçao for the game

     STAND-in Trinidad and Tobago skipper Ross Russell and his teammates advanced to
     the next round of the 2002 World Cup qualifying series on Saturday night here at the
     Ergilio Hato Stadium.

     The men in red, white and black earned a 1-1 draw in their return leg matchup to
     knock the Netherlands Antilles out of the next round 6-1 on aggregate.

     However, while the overall tally may look impressive, T&T learned a lesson which is
     sure to serve them well when the battle for the three spots in Japan and Korea heats

     Almost everything that could go wrong for them on the night did go wrong.

     An islandwide blackout at 7.05 p.m. delayed the start by some 45 minutes, disrupting
     their warm-up. Then, after enjoying the better of the exchanges, Russell's side found
     themselves 1-0 down at the interval.

     In the second session, they battled back to earn an equaliser - but not before striker
     Arnold Dwarika had found himself in the middle of several angry Dutchmen after an
     incident with goalkeeper Marcelo Pisas.
     The tall custodian took offence at Dwarika's challenge as both contested a ball in the
     83rd minute. And having gathered the ball, Pisas lashed out at the T&T marksman who
     responded with a shove.

     Several Dutchmen then surrounded Dwarika and began shoving him around before his
     teammates stepped in.

     But the final say went to Jamaican referee Peter Pendergast who, having had a clear
     view of the incident which caused the trouble, showed Pisas a red card.

     The ejection did not go down well with the small home crowd of some 250 people
     who vented their disgust as he went off.

     And there were just four minutes left in regulation time when T&T settled themselves
     enough to grab the equaliser through Scotland-based defender Marvin Andrews.

     The six-foot-plus Andrews scored his second header in as many games against the
     Dutchmen when he crept in on the far side to place a curling right-side freekick from
     Dwarika past a helpless Michael Martina, the replacement for Pisas.

     But even after the final whistle had gone, officials of both teams had to calm the players
     down and the two teams eventually shook hands before they finally left the field.

     Earlier, coach Ian Porterfield's decision to experiment backfired and T&T found
     themselves under pressure for long periods.

     Porterfield put Mickey Trotman, usually a striker, in with Stokely Mason and debutant
     Dennis Lawrence as his core midfielders in the 3-5-2 set. But, with players also having
     to make the adjustment to the artificial surface, the trio were initially unable to give the
     side the impetus it needed in attack. Trotman in particular looked out of sorts.

     Still, T&T were clearly the better of the two sides and Dwarika would muff three
     clear-cut chances to open the scoring within a 10-minute spell.

     In the 21st minute, he was on the end of a right-side cross from Ansil Elcock but the
     ball deviated slightly just as he unleashed his shot which posed little problem for Pisas.
     Four minutes later, Dwarika succeeded in curling a right-footed freekick around a
     five-man wall from just outside the penalty area only. Pisas pushed it over the bar.
     Within minutes, Pisas had to dive low to his left to stop a blast from Dwarika.

     Where Dwarika had failed, the home side succeeded, Angelo Martina beating Russell
     against the run of play. In a quick counter-attack which caught the T&T defence
     napping, Manuel Rekondie surged up the right flank and fed a long pass all the way
     across the field to Martina.

     With his marker Elcock nowhere in sight and several T&T players trying desperately to
     get back, the Dutchman made his way into the area and slotted past the advancing

     The Trini posse who had made their way across earlier in the day on a charter went
     silent. At the interval, they still wondered whether their team could come back.

     The home team's quick start suggested they might not.

     Eight minutes into the half, Russell had to come off to take a cross from Raleigh
     Francisca. When he could only punch the ball as far as Martina, the striker rifled a shot
     back in where the defence had to clear.

     Only then did T&T begin to respond. In the 59th minute, Mason delivered a low
     right-side cross into the six-metre box. Both Dwarika and Kerwyn Jemmott, brought
     on at the interval for Trotman, were inside the six-metre box as the cross was whipped
     in but neither could get a decisive touch.
     Pisas make a fine reflex save on the line as Dwarika rushed into the six-metre box to
     stab a shot goalwards.

     Substitute striker Hector Sam came on in the 66th minute to add more spunk to the
     T&T attack. His deft dribbling skills left the Dutch defence in tatters at times and they
     often had to resort to roughhouse tactics to stop him.

     Russell also had to do some stopping of his own at the other end. When winger
     Michael Obispo dispossessed T&T Brent Sancho on the left flank and spotted the
     custodian slightly off his line, he unleashed a dipping right-footer on the run from 15
     metres out. But, diving backwards, Russell just managed to push the effort over the

     After that, the home side began to let their frustration really show and when they lost
     Pisas, T&T took full advantage.

     They will now meet the Dominican Republic who also got the better of Montserrat

     T&T 1 (Marvin Andrews 86th) v Netherlands Antilles 1 (Angelo Martina 41st) - T&T
     advance 6-1 on aggregate

     T&T-Ross Russell, Shurland David, Marvin Andrews, Brent Sancho, Ansil Elcock
     (Carlos Edwards 76th), Sherwyn Julien, Dennis Lawrence, Stokely Mason, Mickey
     Trotman (Kerwyn Jemmott 46th), Nigel Pierre (Hector Sam 66th), Arnold Dwarika

Andrews saves T&T

     AN electrical outage, a rock hard artificial surface, a series of missed scoring chances
     and a late Marvin Andrews equaliser.

     These were the ingredients of Trinidad and Tobago's 1-1 draw with the Netherlands
     Antilles in their return leg 2002 World Cup qualifying match at the Ergilio Hato Stadium
     in Curacao on Saturday night.

     It was not the result hoped for but it was enough to send T&T through (6-1 on
     aggregate) to the next leg against the Dominican Republic who beat Montserrat
     The Soca Warriors were a relieved bunch after the 90 minutes of rough action with the
     Caribbean Dutchmen.

     The start of play was delayed by 30 minutes after the lights went out at the small
     stadium which had a few hundred spectators present.

     Coach Ian Porterfield's starting eleven included Ross Russell in goal, defenders
     Sherwyn Julien, Brent Sancho, Shurland David playing as sweeper, Ansil Elcock and
     Andrews, Mickey Trotman, Stokely Mason and Dennis Lawrence in the middle and
     Nigel Pierre and Arnold Dwarika up front.

     Russell, who pulled off a couple good saves, captained the T&T side in the absence of
     Anthony Rougier. He got a scare around the 15th minute when the home side took the
     lead following a counter-attack.

     After a T&T play broke down, the Antilleans moved down the right and switched ends
     before the goalscorer awkwardly toe punched the ball past Russell from near the
     penalty spot.

     Despite the hard surface which caused the ball to bounce at a fast pace and a rain
     shower before kick-off, T&T did manage to string some passes around.
     Sancho who has a sore left thigh after falling described the action on the surface "like
     playing small goal on the road."

     A lack of proper finishing made things even more difficult.
     Some ten chances were thrown away in the opening half with Dwarika being the main

     A similar amount of squandered opportunities followed in the second half.
     The Antilleans, fielding a couple new faces in their team from the earlier 5-0 defeat
     defended in numbers after going ahead and were aggressive throughout.

     With the clock running down, T&T were saved from defeat when Andrews headed
     home Dwarika's free kick from the right in similar style to the set play goal he scored in
     the first leg from the left.

     Porterfield admitted afterwards that it was difficult to expect a result similar to the
     earlier leg because of the absence of some players and the different conditions.

     He was nevertheless happy to advance to the next stage and relieved to be undefeated
     in his first two games as coach.

     T&T's Olympic team went into camp at the Concacaf Centre of Excellence yesterday
     leading up to their match against the Netherlands Antilles tomorrow in a 2000 Sydney
     Olympics qualifier at Macoya.

     Guatemala and Canada are also involved in the semi-final stage tournament here.