By SHAUN FUENTES
TRINIDAD and Tobago Under-23 footballers put
themselves on course for a place in
the final stage of the Olympic qualifying tournament last night.
They trounced the Netherlands Antilles 6-0 at the CONCACAF Centre of Excellence
at Macoya last night.
Double strikes by CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh
striker Hector Sam (35th and 53th),
Jason Scotland (57th and 70th) and talented midfielder Brent Rahim (twice from the
penalty spot in the 90th minute and injury time), and good support play by midfielder
Carlos Edwards gave the local fans a result to be happy about.
T&T had squandered a number of opportunities
on the heavy surface which saw
Guatemala and Canada play to a goalless draw earlier.
With two teams advancing to the final qualifying
round in the United States in May, a
victory in either of the their remaining games against Guatemala and Canada should
guarantee coach Anton Corneal's team a spot there.
The young Antilles team was hoping to make
up for their senior counterparts' exit from
the World Cup qualifying tournament by T&T on Saturday but could do no better,
ending the match with eight players on the field.
From the opening whistle T&T began a string
of misses with Joseph Peters and Nigel
Pierre, Sam and Edwards being the guilty ones.
After Scotland replaced Pierre in the 32nd minute, T&T went ahead soon after when
Sam's sliding effort from the edge of the box beat goalkeeper Dajron Myers.
Four minute after the half-time interval Sam
shot overbar from close up but made up
for that minutes later.
Edwards did the leg-work on the right and after Myers funbled his cross on the near
post, Sam tapped home the rebound.
Edwards again was the instigator for T&T's
third item when he ended his penetrative
run with a cross from the right for Scotland to clinically shoot home.
Both Sam and Edwards are likely to be signed by English Second Division side
Wrexham before tomorrow's transfer deadline, pending the approval of their work
The visitors then had Sjorensley Koffie sent
off. Scotland went on to net his second
with a comfortable right-footer from the six-yard box.
After Peters saw his shot stopped on the goal-line
by the hands of Jurfly Nathilda, who
received marching orders from Antiguan referee Noel Ejan, Rahim converted from the
penalty spot and T&T's sixth goal followed in similar fashion.
Giovani Alberto was the third player sent off for the Netherlands.
Strikers double up in 6-0 T&T win
TRINIDAD and Tobago Under-23 skipper Travis
Mulraine and his teammates made
the start they would have wanted to their 2000 Sydney Olympic campaign at the João
Havelange Centre of Excellence last night.
The men in red, white and black mauled the
Netherlands Antilles 6-0 in their opening
Football Confederation qualifying match-up. With the victory, they leapt right to the top
of the four-team table after Canada and Guatemala played to a goalless draw in the
Two goals apiece from strikers Hector Sam,
Jason Scotland, a first-half substitute for
injured Nigel Pierre, and midfielder Brent Rahim, who notched two late second half
penalties, set T&T up to secure one of the two berths in the final round of the qualifying
series in the US later this year.
However, despite achieving victory, T&T
coach Anton Corneal would not have been
entirely happy about the finishing of his team in particular.
In a game which turned ugly in the second half
as three Dutchmen were ejected, it was
only after T&T lifted their game that they were able to blow things wide open.
The onslaught really started eight minutes
after the halftime interval when Sam got his
The play was started by T&T right-winger
Carlos Edwards who tormented the Dutch
defence all night. He dribbled past Jursley Mathilda on the flank, then crossed into the
six-metre box where keeper Dajron Myers fumbled the ball and could only look on as
Sam slotted it home.
Four minutes later, Edwards again dribbled
past a defender on the flank and crossed
into the box, where Scotland collected and shot past Myers.
Then came the first of three red cards for
the visiting side. Sjorensley Koffie received
marching orders in the 64th minute for a brutal tackle on T&T midfielder Joseph
Peters. He would be followed by teammates Giovani Alberto (80th minute) and
In between, Scotland got his second, while
Rahim converted twice from the penalty
spot (88th and 90th) as the frustrated visitors, like their senior team had done in the
World Cup qualifier to T&T three days earlier, conceded defeat.
But the Dutchmen were never in this game.
T&T had dominated the proceedings from
the first blast of referee Noel Egan's whistle.
However, an appalling display of finishing gave them little to show for it, save a lone
item from Sam in the 35th minute, to take in at the halftime interval.
The chief culprit in this department was Peters,
who muffed no fewer than three
clear-cut chances at goal. The most glaring of his misses came in the 37th minute, when
Edwards found him free inside the six-metre box with a well-floated right-side cross
over the defence. Peters collected but somehow, with goalie Myers at his mercy,
contrived to shoot wide of the left upright.
It might have been some stern talking to by
coach Corneal at the interval that did the
trick but in the second half they certainly converted more of the opportunities they
created. Sam finally made amends for the earlier sloppiness when he collected a
right-side cross from Anton Pierre, turned a defender and shot past the despairing dive
of Myers from 12 metres out.
Coach Corneal will be hoping to see his men
carry on from where they left off in the
second half when they take on Guatemala tomorrow.
Score: T&T 6 (Hector Sam 35th and 53rd,
Jason Scotland 57th and 70th, Brent
Rahim 88th (pen.) and 90th (pen.), Netherlands Antilles 0
T&T team: Ryan Edwards, Derek King, Keyeno
Thomas, Brent Sancho, Anton Pierre
(Jason Scotland 33rd), Travis Mulraine, Joseph Peters, Brent Rahim, Carlos Edwards
(Addae Rique 78th), Hector Sam (Adrian Narine 67th), Nigel Pierre.