TRINIDAD and Tobago Under-23 footballers' hopes
of playing in the 2000 Sydney
Olympic Games went crashing last night when they went under to Canada 2-0 at
Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Going into the match needing a point to advance
to the final qualifying round with
Guatemala, T&T fell to strikes by Steve Kindel (33rd minute) and Paul Stalteri on the
stroke of full time.
T&T paid dearly for failing to make better
use of some early chances with Hector Sam
being the main culprit.
His partner Lebanon based Errol McFarlane Jnr hardly had a look at goal.
Canada, needing a victory to advance, got the go-ahead goal when Jeffery Clarke
crossed from the right for Kindel to head past goalkeeper Ryan Edwards.
With the second half starting under a drizzle,
the Canadians were content on defending
that one-goal advantage while T&T went into desperation as the minutes ticked away.
With the alarm bells ringing and the ghost of a 1-0 loss to the Canadians in the Gold
Cup semi-finals last month seeming to have returned, a mishap by defender Keyeno
Thomas made matters worse.
Thomas carelessly gave up possession of the
ball on the right which allowed Kindel to
cross for Stalteri, a member of their winning Gold Cup side, to bury a shot past a
hopeless Edwards from close up.
Coach Anton Corneal's teams hopes were dashed
at that stage and to add insult to
injury they were reduced to 10 men when defender Brent Sancho vented his frustration
by slamming the ball onto the turf after having a foul called against him.
Canada and Guatemala advanced to the final
stage of qualification in the United States
in May while T&T's main aim is now going through to the 2002 Japan/Korea World
Earlier in the evening, Guatemala slammed the
Netherlands Antilles 9-1 with Fredd
Carera leading their charge with six goals,to top the three-team standings with seven
points - the same as Canada, who had an inferior goal difference.
T&T came next with four points, followed by a pointless Netherlands Antilles.
Canada boot out T&T
By MARK POUCHET
Then they lost.
Now the Trinidad and Tobago under-23 team's
Olympic campaign is over. With their
2-0 defeat at the hands of Canada Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, the T&T
team finished third in Group A behind the visitors from North America and Guatemala.
The Latin Americans, greatly assisted by striker
Fredd Carrera's six goal effort, had
earlier demolished the Netherland Antilles 9-1 in the first game. And that means that
both Canada and Guatemala now move through to the final stage of the Confederation
qualification series to be held in the US in May.
Going into the game, coach Anton Corneal's
squad led the four-team table with four
points from two matches.
And needing a single point to secure a berth
to the final leg, captain Travis Mulraine
and his teammates were denied a point by strikes from Steven Kindel (33rd) and Paul
But as had happened to the senior squad in
their Gold Cup semi-final game versus
Canada, they had only themselves to blame.
Forward Hector Sam was guilty of wasting a
chance, overpushing when Carlos
Edwards released him through the middle of the Canadian defence. And keeper Mike
Franks collected with no problem.
But soon after the Canadians made the breakthrough.
An errant pass from T&T in midfield allowed
Jeffrey Clarke to run down the right flank
and deliver a curling cross to Kindel whose diving header beat keeper Ryan Edwards
at the near post.
The second half saw T&T pressing desperately
for the all essential equaliser. That's
when Keyeno Thomas committed a grave error.
His intended backheel to Derek King was underweighted,
allowing Kindel to cross to
an unmarked Stalteri who sidefooted home from close range.
In time added on Brent Sancho was given marching
orders for dissent. But by that time
it mattered no longer.
The T&T Olympic dream was not to be realised.