A wonderful left footed strike which flew into net off Keon Daniel's boot to set the Hasely Crawford Stadium alight on 84 minutes was not enough to give Trinidad and Tobago three points as Saturday's 2010 World Cup qualifier ended in a 1-1 stalemate before 14000 fans.
T&T for most parts of the game looked a team on the rise but Carlos Gallardo silenced the home fans when he flicked an incoming free kick into the far corner past Marvin Phillip in added on time. The free kick call was doubtful as Daniel appeared to have made no contact with Marco Papa before Panama's Roberto Moreno blew for the foul. Carlos Santizo drove the subsequent free kick hard goalwards and Gallardo's faint touch caught Phillip off.
On the basis of the win on the road in Cuba, the key factor was to get three points at home against the Guatemalans, the Trinidad Guardian reported and that may have been true but Francisco Maturana's men deserved credit for organized play and a determined approach. But poor finishing may have also cost them the three points.
After ten minutes, Glen had the first try. Right back Cyd Gray sent a ball over to the striker whose first time shot flew overbar. From very early, veteran Dwight Yorke, who skippered the team, was tightly marked but earned plaudits for a fairly good showing which included the assist for Daniel's goal.
After 30 minutes, Guatemala started to push T&T back into its defence but it didn’t last long, as the game suddenly went flat before the half time whistle.
Guatemala made in roads into the T&T defence at times but were never penetrative enough to break through.
In the half, T&T had two definite chances—one by Carlos Edwards, who failed by inches to get his boot to a cross by Glen, and a shot by Yorke which just missed its mark.
Guatemala came out with more purpose in the second session with Guillermo Ramirez getting two shots at goal within the first five minutes.
Options for scoring from plays created by Yorke suffered a blow when the former Manchester United standout had to receive treatment to his right ankle. But Yorke got a well deserved five-minute rest when the visitors’ starting goalkeeper Ricardo Trigueno was injured and, after being unable to continue, was replaced by Luis Molina.
Substitute Andre Toussaint enjoyed a good run, forcing a good save from Molina and also playing a part in T&T's goal.
Soon after the replacement, John picked up a yellow card for an infringement on Rodriguez. It was his second in succession, having picked one up against the Cubans. As a result, he will automatically be out for the third match against the United States on Wednesday.
The T&T team departs early Sunday morning for Chicago but will go into Wednesday's match against USA without Dwight Yorke who has been ruled out with injury and has been asked by Sunderland to return to the club on Sunday.(Photo Anthony Harris)
Click for Team line ups
CONCACAF World Cup qualifying results on Saturday Group A Cuba 0 United States 1, Trinidad & Tobago 1 Guatemala 1;Group B Canada 1 Honduras 2,Mexico 3 Jamaica ; Group C Costa Rica 7 Suriname 0, El Salvador 5 Haiti 0
Standings P W D L F A Pts
Group A 1 United States 2 2 0 0 2 0 6 2 Trinidad & Tobago 2 1 1 0 4 2 4 3 Guatemala 2 0 1 1 1 2 1 4 Cuba 2 0 0 2 1 4 0
Group B 1 Mexico 2 2 0 0 5 1 6 2 Honduras 2 1 0 1 3 3 3 3 Canada 2 0 1 1 2 3 1 4 Jamaica 2 0 1 1 1 4 1
Group C 1 Costa Rica 2 2 0 0 8 0 6 2 El Salvador 2 1 0 1 5 1 3 3 Haiti 2 0 1 1 2 7 1 4 Suriname 2 0 1 1 2 9 1