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|T&T TAKES IT LIKE A LOSS|
Tempers didn’t flare but the mood in the Trinidad and Tobago dressing room would have left anyone with the feeling that the National Senior had just suffered a most disappointing defeat following its 2-2 draw with El Salvador at the Estadio Cuscatlan .
Two first half goals by midfielder Dwight Yorke (27th min penalty) was insufficient to give what could have safely been three points before the closing eleven minutes.
In the end, the “Bristol City striker Stern John fired over bar after slipping prior to executing with his right foot.” were made to rue several second half chances including an early second half penalty which
Francisco Maturana offered no sympathy for the drawn match.
“In a World Cup qualifying campaign to get one point away from home is generally not a bad result . But because of the way this game developed, we leave here with a very bitter taste in us,” Maturana told TTFF Media.
“During the game we had several chanced and we played well. At some moments it looked as if we would win by a large margin but El Salvador came back with a lot of heart and they ended happier than we did.
“We wanted first of all to protect that two goal lead but also get opportunities to increase and we had some chances that we did not capitalize on. But we also did not protect the lead.
“We had to be very careful with Dwight and Chris in the midfield because they had yellow cards but otherwise the instructions to maintain the lead.”
Asked whether his team panicked late in the match, he responded
“There was no panic. This team has shown very good character in a lot of very difficult situations. The issue of travelling could have affected us but it’s no excuse even though it could have caused a lack of concentration. The goal that they scored came from a throw in that was our throw. They threw a very quick throw and caught us which led to the and that could be as a result of some mental fatigue,”Maturana added.
When quizzed by reporters as to whether Assistant Coach/Player Russell Latapy should have been on the field, Maturana replied “No. I don’t even think that he thought was ready to play. He was very entrenched in what was going on the field of play and very entrenched in his role as an assistant coach. I don’t even think he even had his shoes on.”
T&T will miss the services of Yorke, and Chris Birchall in the next home match against Honduras because of suspension.
“That is definitely something we will have to reassess because these are two players we will have to replace in the middle of our game,” Maturana added
Latapy assured the T&T team that all was not lost and it was in fact the beginning of a final round journey to South Africa that is still very much alive.
At the end of the match, several soldiers had to form a protective barrier using shields to allow the T&T team members to exit the dressing room on their way to the team bus a little less than 100 metres away. And prior to the team’s closing prayer before departing the dressing room there was a five-minute period where several racial slurs were directed at the T&T team from home fans who were on the opposite end of the wall separating the room.
El Salvador President Antonio Saca announced on matchday too that his Government would reward the El Salvador team USD10,000 for every goal scored in Wednesday’s match.
The T&T home-based players return home via Panama City on Copa Airlines at while the other overseas pros travel back to their respective destinations.
T&T blow two goal lead
While the US got off on the right foot and downed Mexico 2-0 on Wednesday night to maintain CONCACAF supremacy, the Hexagonal’s four other teams also did battle. Costa Rica also won to tie the US for first place, cruising past Honduras 2-0, while El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago battled it out during a scrappy 2-2 tie.
El Salvador rallied behind Osael Romero’s two goals, both on free kicks, in the final 11 minutes to tie Trinidad & Tobago 2-2 in San Salvador.