Game Report: Trinidad and Tobago vs Panama
No surprise, we won
Mediocre game leads to 1-0 win against Panama
By LASANA LIBURD
THE shrill of referee Rodolfo Sibrain’s whistle at the end of regulation time at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday brought relief to more than just the 24-man Panamanian entourage.
A cool finish from the penalty spot by Nigel Pierre in the first half was as good as it got for the 3,000 odd supporters who braved the damp weather.
Walloped 6-0 by Trinidad and Tobago in their last visit to the Oval, Panama may have been relatively satisfied with their 1-0 defeat yesterday in the final game of the Concacaf World Cup football semifinal round. They deserved no better.
In five prior group matches, Panama managed just one goal while conceding 15 and they were true to form yesterday afternoon, failing to mount a serious attack throughout the affair.
West Ham custodian Shaka Hislop may have been more concerned about catching the cold than being beaten from the sterile Panamanian offence; while the ability of debutante left back Kevin Austin remains in the air as he was not called on to tackle for the ball once.
Coach Ian Porterfield should be more concerned with the failure of his front-runners to properly distinguish themselves from their mediocre guests.
It had started promisingly enough for T&T, though.
From as early as the 11th minute, the hosts should have taken the lead after Wrexham striker Hector Sam neatly freed captain Angus Eve down the left side of the Panamanian penalty area.
But, as Pierre waited on the edge of the six-yard box, Eve opted to go alone and his weak shot offered a regulation take for goalkeeper Donaldo Gonzalez at his near post.
Three minutes later, things became more complicated for the Panamanian defence.
As Pierre went airborne to contest an opposing defender on the edge of the area, Gonzalez drifted aimlessly off his goalline, only to be stranded when the ball fell obligingly for Sam.
Sam immediately lashed out with his right boot but Panamanian defender Roberto Correa was equally determined as he turned the effort over the crossbar with a fine one-hand save.
Referee Sibrian was not amused and, with Panama now reduced to ten players and one bona fide custodian, Pierre converted the resulting penalty kick.
It was his third item of the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign and, by the final whistle, he could have doubled that tally but for several muffed chances.
With Trinidad and Tobago controlling the ball but unable to convert chances into goals, Porterfield took the opportunity to send substitutes Otis Seaton, Jason Scotland and Adrian Narine into the fray.
They would remember the match as their first outing in national senior team colours.
For others at the Oval, though, there was little from the match worth recording to memory.
Shaka Hislop; 12-Carlos Edwards (9-Adrian Narine 82), 7-Dennis Lawrence, 4-Craig Demmin, 6-Kevin Austin; 8-Angus (C) Eve, 5-Reynold Carrington, 15-Stokely Mason, 16-Evans Wise (13-Otis Seaton 64); 14-Hector Sam (11-Jason Scotland 55), 18-Nigel Pierre.
27-Donaldo Gonzalez; 5-Franklin Delgado, 18-Ubaldo Guardia, 4-Jose Mario Anthony, 14-Roberto Correa [Red Card]; 11-Percival Piggott, 22-Manuel Torres, 12-Julio Medina (13-Miguel Ortega 53), 7-Jorge Dely Valdes, 8-Alberto Blanco; 10-Roberto Brown (9-Alfredo Anderson 68).