Game Report: T&T vs Netherland Antilles

T&T Olympic side swamp N/Antilles


     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

     Sports Desk

     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
     opening game.

     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
     second item.

     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
     Mathilda (87th).

     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.