By IRVING WARD (Trinidad Express)
T&T go under 4-0 to Mexico
TRINIDAD and Tobago's hopes of qualifying for
the playoff round of the 2000
Football Confederations Gold Cup tournament were last night dealt a severe blow by
Bertille St Clair's side gave a good account
of themselves in the first half an hour of the
game at the Qualcomm Stadium here in San Diego but were eventually shut out 4-0 by
the Central Americans in the first game of their Group C campaign.
T&T were even denied the consolation of
a goal. And to add injury to insult, they may
also have lost the services of England-based defender Ronnie Maugé for tomorrow's
must-win second game against Guatemala.
The defender was taken to hospital in the second
half with what looked, to judge by
the way he was holding his head, like a very serious injury.
Rougier's side have a lot of work to do in
the next 24 hours if they are to advance.
After enjoying a good run in the opening 30 minutes, they allowed their Central
American opponents to take complete control of the game. But it was not until the
52nd minute that things swung decisively in favour of the Mexicans.
A quick counter-attack by the Central Americans
set up striker Luis Hernandez who
beat goalkeeper Clayton Ince at the far post with a well-placed left-footer from the
edge of the penalty area. That made the score 2-0 and quite clearly rattled the T&T
After that, it was all downhill.
The Mexicans increased the lead to 3-0 in the75th
minute after T&T defender Shurland
David turned a right-side corner past Ince with his head. And five minutes from time,
Juan Palancia put the finishing touches to the defeat with a fourth goal.
In between, Yorke who had two chances stopped
and a shot ricochet off the upright in
the second half, had a late penalty conversion nullified by the assistant referee. The
official ruled that the Mexican keeper Oscar Perez had moved before the kick and the
El Salvadorean referee Rafael Rodríguez ordered a re-kick. The decision drew heated
protests from the T&T camp with Yorke angrily confronting the referee. When the
dispute was finally over, Perez parried the shot onto the crossbar and the ball was
cleared to safety by the retreating defence.
But T&T had managed to put the ball in
the back of the net after just nine minutes
through Russell Latapy. Following a good build-up involving David Nakhid and Yorke,
the "Little Magician" slotted home a left-side cross from Mickey Trotman but the goal
was nullified by an offside call from referee Rodriguez.
Mexico's first real chance at goal came about
ten minutes later in the 20th minute
through Juan Abundis. He was first to a loose ball in the area after the T&T defence
failed to clear a right-side cross from José Higareda. Abundis queued up a powerful
rightfooter but defender Marvin Andrews made a timely interception to deny him and
keep the scoreline blank.
Rafael Marquez's 36th minute goal had brought
to life most of the 22,131 fans, most of
them Mexicans who had made the 15-minute trip from home. T&T would go in just
one goal down at the interval.
In the second half, though, they could not
find a way to keep the marauding Mexicans
out-or to get back in it once the defences had been repeatedly breached.
Mexico shut down 'Soca Warriors'
Story by Shaun Fuentes from Los Angeles
TRINIDAD and Tobago put themselves in a must win situation against Guatemala
today when turning a 1-0 half-time deficit and a chance of salvaging a
draw into a 4-0 whipping from Mexico at the
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego on Sunday.
The result was not expected especially after 4-2 defeat for T&T in the 1998 Gold Cup.
Under cloudy skies and 21,000 Mexican fans and two hundred T&T on
lookers, T&T lost their second player in two days and saw their most
famous striker miss a few easy opportunities and a second
But to anyone who didn't see the action, should know that the scoreline does not really indicate the performance of T&T.
Captain Anthony Rougier and his "Soca Warriors" more than held their own in the first half as a blustery wind swirled around the ground.
T&T enjoyed better possession for the opening 15 minutes and actually caused huge roars followed by a Mexican wave from the Mexicans as a wake up call for their team entering 16 minutes.
The Mexicans began to settle into their game and showed the confidence that comes with three Gold Cup titles and a number 10 ranking by FIFA. But that didn't jostle the local squad.
T&T's first real attempt on goal came in the 22nd minute when Angus Eve found himself on the end of a play just inside the area before having a low effort was blocked out by goalkeeper Oscar Perez.
The Mexicans hit back soon after when Juan Francis's attempt had Clayton Ince saving low to his right. Yorke was main target of supplying passes from his teammates and also challenges from opposing defenders.
Local fans who questioned the players' commitment to the team during
a game saw him hustling
the Mexicans at any given time and his teammates were not prepared to let their opponents take control.
T&T's best move of the half came in the 24th minute when after a clearance at the back by Andrews, midfielder Russell Latapy picked out Yorke going forward and maintaining his composure, the Manchester United forward slipped to striking partner Mickey Trotman on the left but his left footer blocked on near post by Perez.
Up to that stage the T&T defence was intact with Andrews, Shurland David and Rougier all keeping the Mexicans at bay. But then tragedy struck in the 36th minute when Ince failed to get around to his right post to push out Rafael Alvarez's attempt which bounced over the line following a break on the left side by Emilio Lopez.
Double attempts by Eve that were blocked preceded the goal. The Mexican crowd erupted and T&T's promising start dropped a gear in the following ten minutes as their opponents went after a second item.
On 40 minutes after a dangerous move was broken down inside the box, Andrews lost his concentration and touched back for Ince allowing Hernandez to intercept, luckily he failed to capitalise.
A minute later the Crewe Alexandra 'keeper had to rush off his line
to force Francsico's attempt wide. Nearing the half time interval, T&T
took their backs off the wall. Yorke should have done better from inside
the area, instead being forced off target. Still that was a good sign going
into the second 45
Just as the case was when the "Soca Warriors" made their first entrance onto the battle field, they received loud jeers from the Mexicans prior to the second half kick-off. Five minutes into the second half, "Latas" picked out Yorke just on the edge of the box but the striker went down without a call by EL Salvadorian referee Rafael Rodriguez.
A minute later the same duo combined, this time the £12.6 million
man saw his header past a beaten Perez cleared by Sergio Trevino before
it could trickle over. Similar to the first goal following a T&T attack,
the Mexicans got their second goal when Luis "El Matador" Hernandez, free
as a bird flew
down the right flank before shooting past a helpless Ince.
Trotman hustled almost every available play but was replaced by Evans Wise in the 61st minute and when Mauge was taken to hospital for a broken left foot, T&T fell apart. The defence was in disarray at this stage as the Mexicans went after a third goal and got it in the 75th minute when defender David turned Juan Francisco's right side corner into his own goal.
The Latapy/Yorke combination almost brought T&T their first goal
in the 76th and 80th minutes.
First the "Little Magician" pushed one through for the Tobagonian who rushed a right footer which went over off the top of the crossbar and then saw his diving header pushed out by diving Perez. Even the Mexicans went up in cheers for the latter play.
T&T conceded a fourth item when after failing to clear at the back
Francisco's powerful drive came off Derek King on its way in. In the closing
stages Yorke stepped up for a penalty and after Perez
moved to his left before making a desperate attempt to stop the ball from entering the centre of the goal was happy to realise that a retake was ordered because the linesman ruled that a T&T player ran into the area after the kick.
Yorke went for power the second time and the crossbar robbed T&T
a consolation strike.