Los Angeles, Cal. (Feb. 24, 2000) ? Canada
defeated Trinidad and Tobago tonight 1-0 on
a 68th minute header from Mark Watson, earning a berth in the Gold Cup final. With the
victory, Canada also became champions of CONCACAF with the victory, as they are
the final team from the federation remaining in the competition.
"Never in our wildest dreams did we think we
could advance to the finals of the Gold
Cup," said Canada coach Holger Osieck. "This is our first title and we are thrilled to win."
Both squads started the same lineups as in
their previous matches. Despite the fact that
Trinidad?s Dwight Yorke had returned from England for the match, his thigh strain was
enough to keep him out of the lineup.
Canada again placed a clear emphasis on defense,
but the newly confident side looked
eager to push forward if the opportunity presented itself. Trinidad?s initial attacks
focused on the flanks in an effort to avoid Canadian captain Jason De Vos, who had
proven to be a substantial obstacle during the tournament.
Trinidad had the first chance at goal in the
10th minute, when Jerren Nixon took an
angled through pass at the edge of the area and aimed a quick shot to the far post.
Keeper Craig Forrest breathed a sigh of relief as the ball rolled wide.
Canada had more tense moments in the 16th minute,
when a scramble in the area
resulted in two dangerous shots. The first came from Arnold Dwarika, who turned the
corner on the left side and forced Forrest to dive at his feet to punch away the ball. It
rolled towards the penalty spot where Nixon got a foot on it. With Forrest out of position,
it looked to be trouble for Canada, but David Xausa was in position to clear the ball well
Canada?s first opportunity came off a free
kick in the 23rd minute. Carlo Corazzin, the
tournament?s leading scorer with three goals, bent a low ball around the wall from 25
yards out that squirted under goalkeeper Clayton Ince. Ince made a quick recovery,
however, and controlled the ball with his legs before it trickled over the line.
Trinidad?s best opportunity of the half came
in the 35th minute. Captain Anthony Rougier
sent in a perfect cross from the right side, which dipped into the penalty area about thn
yards out. Nixon, in perfect position to convert, fell when pressed from behind by Mark
Watson and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
David Nakhid stepped forward to take the penalty
for the Caribbean side. He ran up to
the ball and suddenly paused, hoping that Forrest would show some indication of the
direction in which he would move to make the save. The Canadian keeper stood fast on
his line, however, and when Nakhid arrived at the ball, he had lost his forward momentum
and could put little power on the shot. Forrest saved easily, diving to his right and allowing
"It was clear to everyone in the stadium that
Craig Forrest saved the victory for us
today," said coach Osieck. "Penalty kicks are decisive moments in football. If you get one
and score, it obviously helps, but if you fail to convert one like Trinidad & Tobago did, it is
bad for the morale of the team."
"Craig Forrest was tremendous," added Trinidad
and Tobago coach Bertille St. Clair. "He
was the difference between them winning and losing."
The opening minutes of the second half saw
the ball repeatedly pounded at the Canadian
net as Dwarika single-handedly tried to put his team on top. In the 52nd minute, the Joe
Public forward tested Forrest with a low drive from 22 yards, but the Canadian keeper
got his right arm onto the ball while diving to his right, deflecting away from the net and
over the end line. Two minutes later, Dwarika had a clear shot form 17 yards out, but this
time his blast failed to reach goal when it was blocked by a diving Xausa. A minute later,
it was Dwarika again, this time crushing a hard shot off a pass from Russell Latapy that
Forrest once again parried.
Canada began to press back in the 61st minute
as Paul Stalteri and Paul Peschisolido
combined on a combination of passes that freed Stalteri on a run into the left side of the
area. The Werder Bremen forward ripped a hard shot to the far post that Ince dove to
parry, Rougier clearing the ball from danger.
Their work paid off in the 68th minute, when
Canada?s Jim Brennan sent in a cross to
the far post that Corazzin nodded back towards the middle of the area. Watson, a
defender with England?s Oxford United, was left virtually unmarked and easily put the
ball past a frustrated Ince.
Trinidad and Tobago attacked with vigor for
the remaining 20 minutes. In the 76th
minute, they missed a golden opportunity when Stokley Mason put in a bouncing cross
from the left side and onto the boot of an onrushing Latapy. The ball appeared to take a
bad hop just before reaching the Hibernian midfielder inside the six yard box, and his
touch only pushed the ball up and over the net.
Canada will take on Colombia in the Gold Cup
final, to be played this Sunday, February
27 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on internetsoccer.com.
Canada: 1-Craig Forest, 4-Tony Menezes, 5-Jason
De Vos (capt.), 7-Paul Stalteri,
9-Carlo Corazzin, 10- David Xausa (21-Martin Nash, 75), 11-Jim Brennan, 12-Jeff
Clarke (2-Paul Fenwick, 46), 13-Mark Watson, 15-Richard Hastings, 17-Paul
Peschisolido (16-Garret Kusch, 90)
Trinidad & Tobago: 21-Clayton Ince, 4-Marvin
Andrews, 6-Shurland David, 8-Angus
Eve, 9-Arnold Dwarika, 10- Russell Latapy, 11-Jerren Nixon (16-Brent Rahim, 46),
12-David Nakhid, 13-Ansil Elcock, 15-Stokley Mason
T&T edged out by Canada
All of the offensive stats were in T&T's
favour at the end of Thursday's game. The most
telling of the was shots at goal which numbered 16 for Rougier's side.
The man who made the difference in this game for Canada was England-based
goalkeeper Craig Forrest who often single-handedly thwarted the T&T attack.
Forrest, West Ham teammate of T&T keeper Shaka Hislop, came up with save after
save, including one off David Nakhid's penalty in the 36th minute.
The lone game-winning goal came off the head
of defender Mark Watson in the 68th
In seven meetings all time, Canada have now won five, drawn twice and never lost to
T&T, although this win will go down as their biggest ever.
But Rougier's side have a lot to be proud about. Defeated but not disgraced, they will
now regroup quickly to refocus their energies on the opening 2002 World Cup qualifier
against the Netherlands Antilles on Carnival Saturday.
The small 2,841 crowd included England-based professional Dwight Yorke, forced to sit
out the game after failing a fitness test earlier in the day, and sprint star Ato Boldon could
have predicted the finish of this game.
After all, their compatriots had jumped all
over the Canadians from the first blast of
referee Gustavo Mendez's first whistle.
Once again, the key midfield combination of Angus Eve, Russell Latapy and Nakhid,
clicked early providing good service to strikers Dwarika and Jerren Nixon up front.
Nixon himself had three clearcut chances inside the first 20 minutes. Two he muffed
through poor shooting. The other, in the 15th minute, was cleared off the line by David
The turning point in the game came in the 35th minute when the referee awarded a
penalty kick for a foul on Nixon. The Switzerland-based striker was bundled over by
Watson in the penalty area while going for a right-side cross from Rougier.
Nakhid stepped up to take the kick ahead with
Forrest dancing around on his line as the
new Fifa laws now allow keepers to. After a stutter-step approach, Nakhid put his kick
fairly tamely to the right of Forrest who dived low to catch it safely out of the air.
On the stroke of halftime, Latapy, converted to striker by coach Bertille St Clair after
Nixon was taken off with an ankle in the 43rd minute, brought an acrobatic save from
Forrest with a long range left-footer.
The second half started in much the same way
as both Nakhid and Dwarika forced
Forrest into desperate saves to keep his side in the game.
Then came Watson's heart-breaking goal against
the run of play. The defender positioned
himself inside the penalty box as Xausa delivered a left-side freekick on the far post.
When Carlo Corazzin headed the pass back in his direction, an immobile Arnold Dwarika
allowed three attackers to remain onside behind the defence and Watson headed past
Ince from inside the six-metre box.
After that, Latapy might have equalised in the 79th minute when
Stokely Mason made a fine run up the left flank and delivered a cross over the heads of
the Canadian defence. Running through two defenders to get into the box, but could not
control the shot and put it over the bar with the goal wide open.
St Clair then played his final trump card by
introducing both Mickey Trotman, who had
scored the golden goal winner in the quarterfinal victory against Costa Rica, and Evans
But neither could do anything to save T&T.
Team: Clayton Ince, Shurland David, Marvin
Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Anthony Rougier,
Angus Eve, Stokely Mason (Evans Wise 85th), David Nakhid (Mickey Trotman 85th),
Russell Latapy, Jerren Nixon (Brent Rahim 43rd), Arnold Dwarika.
(Courtesy Irvin Ward)