By Shaun Fuentes
Trinidad and Tobago were assured a comfortable goal advantage
ahead of their return leg 2002 World Cup qualifying match, but they didn't
do so in the most convincing fashion, overcoming an ordinary Dominican
Republic 3-0 at Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain yesterday.
The result means that the Dominican Republic will now have to
beat T&T by four clear goals when they clash in Santo Domingo April
16 to move on to the next round against winners of the Haiti/Bahamas tie.
The huge crowd had to wait until the 68th minute before celebrating
a goal - a penalty converted by Arnold Dwarika. Angus Eve doubled the lead
in the 79th and Dwarika got the final goal on the stroke of full time,
again from the penalty spot.
Scotland-born coach Ian Porterfield, using a 3-4-3 formation,
admitted afterwards that T&T's first half performance was unconvincing,
but he was pleased with the result, saying the visitors deserved credit
for a gutsy showing.
CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh striker Hector Sam started alongside Dwarika up front and could have had a hattrick before being replaced by Stokely Mason in the second half.
T&T captain Russell Latapy had the crowd on their feet after
four minutes when he collected from Dennis Lawrence before seeing a vicious
left-footer rebound off the left post.
The sounds of iron and pan were non-stop during the first 45 minutes
but the Oval was silent for the early part of the second half as the fans
patiently waited for something to celebrate.
The visitors never really tested Clayton Ince in goal.
T&T continued to bombard the opponents' 18- yard-box with
crosses but to little avail until Julien attempted to go through the middle
before being taken down by Garcia Ramon just inside the area.
Dwarika comfortably slotted home to the 'keeper's left. Nine minutes later T&T thought they had a second goal but Bermudan referee Stuart Crockwell disallowed Eve's item and cautioned him for using his hands to force the ball over the line.
On 79 minutes, Latapy's weak effort fell for Dwarika who slipped to the right for Eve to power his effort into the roof of the net.
With the fans anticipating a final item, Eve then sent "Latas" through before he was taken down allowing Dwarika to convert the penalty in similar fashion to his first.
T&T's team: Clayton Ince, Brent Sancho, Shurland David, Ansil Elcock (Carlos Edwards 45th), Sherwin Julien, Hector Sam (Stokely Mason 62nd), Russell Latapy, Dennis Lawrence, Marvin Andrews, Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve.