TRINIDAD and Tobago collected their eighth Caribbean Cup title when they beat Haiti 3-0 in the Copa Caribe football final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium last night.
Dale Saunders sent 8,000 home fans cheering with a 28th minute goal, before Brent Rahim and Arnold Dwarika struck in the second half to secure a remarkable sixth title in the last seven tournaments for Trinidad and Tobago.
T&T were hardly threatened by the Haitians, who failed to reproduce the dazzling form which saw them whip Martinique 5-0 in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Nottingham Forest striker Stern John made the first goal for T&T.
He took on the Haitian defence in an enterprising dribble and fired a shot which goalkeeper Géteau Ferdinand deflected, only for Saunders to tap in from close range.
Haiti, playing an uncharacteristically slow game, enjoyed a lot of ball possession but hardly pressured the unbeaten T&T.
Rahim deflated Haiti when he knocked in a long cross from Mickey Trotman on the right in the 67th minute to make it 2-0, and 10 minutes later, Saunders found Dwarika unmarked in the six-yard box and he slid the ball past Ferdinand to complete the win.
Trinidad and Tobago also claimed two individual awards, as lanky defender Dennis Lawrence was named tournament MVP, and Clayton Ince grabbed the Best Goalkeeper award.
Cuba, beaten 1-0 by Martinique in the third place play-off on Thursday night, took the Fair Play Trophy, and Haiti’s Golman Pierre got the Golden Boot Award as the top scorer with five goals.
(Trinidad & Tobago)—Clayton Ince, Dale Saunders, Marvin Andrews, Ansil
Elcock, Dennis Lawrence, Reynold Carrington, Avery John, Arnold Dwarika (Gary
Glasgow-82nd), Stern John (Nigel Pierre-73rd), Brent Rahim, Mickey Trotman
(Haiti)—Géteau Ferdinand, Roosevelt Désir, Frantz Gilles, Michel Gabriel, Pierre Richard Bruny, Renel Mompremier (Clément Cléjust-51st), Chrismanor Telusma, Golman Pierre (Pierre Roland-80th), Peter Germain, Likenson Chéry, Jacques Pierre.
By IRVING WARD
TRINIDAD and Tobago did not flatter to deceive at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, last night, romping home to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Haiti to lift the 2001 Copa Caribe title.
The victory gave T&T an unprecedented eighth lien on the regional title and the honour of once again being called undisputed kings of Caribbean football.
Having already copped the title in 1989, '92, '94, '95, '96, '97 and last year, midfielders Dale Saunders, Brent Rahim and Arnold Dwarika all found the net to ensure T&T kept the Copa title here.
The success was the first at the regional level for T&T coach Ian Porterfield and a morale boasting win for skipper Marvin Andrews' side heading into next month's crucial World Cup qualifier against Honduras.
However, Porterfield could not have been all that happy after another under par performance which only stood out because of the inability of the Haitians to reproduce the flair which had given them a semifinal win over one-time champion Martinique.
After both teams took a while to settle in, T&T took a 21st minute lead through Saunders. Lurking inside the six-metre box, Saunders shot past Haitian keeper Geteau Ferdinand into an open goal after the keeper had only managed to partially block a shot from England-based striker Stern John.
But an equally appalling display of finishing would deny the estimated 12,000 fans who turned up of more goals to celebrate in the half.
Just three minutes later, John found himself in a one-on-one with the Haitian keeper after the assistant referee's failure to flag him for an obvious offside as he ran on to a Dwarika pass.
To the chagrin of his team-mates, John put his chipped effort straight into the chest of an advancing Ferdinand and Saunders somehow could not get a boot on the loose ball inside the six-metre box with the goal at his mercy.
In the 27th minute Dwarika turned villain when he robbed last stopper Pierre Richard Bruny inside the penalty area but shot poorly at the overworked Ferdinand who parried it away to safety.
Porterfield, no doubt, would have had stern words for his players at the break. And this showed in the second half as T&T gave a better display of finishing, at least early on.
Rahim increased the scoreline in the 68th minute when he placed his shot from seven metres out high into the net after Mickey Trotman's right-side cross eluded the entire Haitian defence and team-mate John.
The Haitian resistance now broken, Dwarika completed the scoring four minutes later when he ran onto a neatly threaded pass from Trotman and placed his shot to the left of Ferdinand to the delight of the now "Mexican-style" waving fans. T&T 3 (Dale Saunders 21st, Brent Rahim 68th, Arnold Dwarika 74th) v Haiti 0
T&T - Clayton Ince, Marvin Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Avery John, Dennis Lawrence, Reynold Carrington, Brent Rahim, Mickey Trotman (Lyndon Andrews 80th), Dale Saunders, Arnold Dwarika (Gary Glasgow 84th), Stern John (Nigel Pierre 80th)
Haiti - Geteau Ferdinand, Pierre Richard Bruny, Frant Gilles, Likenson Chery, Jacque Pierre, Roosevelt Desir, Michel Gabriel, Chrismonor Telusma, Peter Germain, Golman Pierre (Pierre Roland 81st), Renel Mompremier (Clercant Clerjuste 52nd).