Late goals spoil T&T's party
Published: Friday | February 13, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago conceded twice in the last eleven minutes to squander a healthy two-goal cushion as El Salvador spectacularly snatched a share of the points, in a match that saw captain Dwight Yorke sent off.
Carlos Edwards (7th) and Yorke (27th) had both scored in the first half to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the break and put them on course for a vital win in their opening game of the CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifying final round on Wednesday.
But Osael Romero sensationally tucked away two free kicks late on to wipe out the Trinidadians' advantage and grab an unlikely draw at the Cuscatlan Stadium.
The 22-year-old beat goalkeeper Clayton Ince in the 82nd minute and returned to shatter T&T's dreams in the third minute of injury time, when the visitors appeared to have the game wrapped up.
Insult was added to injury when veteran Yorke was sent off for a second booking, following an earlier caution on the brink of half-time.
T&T had only themselves to blame, however, as they could have sealed the match just minutes after resumption from half-time, had the usually reliable Stern John not managed to mangle a penalty opportunity.
Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones went down in the box in the 47th prompting referee Marco Rod-riguez to point to the spot, but John ballooned the resulting shot over the crossbar to leave the scoreline untroubled.
The hosts then stepped up a gear, transforming the tempo of the match with a relentless assault on T&T's defence. In the end, the pressure paid off with T&T suffering crucial lapses as Romero crowned himself hero.
Earlier, Edwards had put T&T ahead in the seventh minute while Yorke added to the scoresheet in the 27th after John was fouled in the area.
In other CONCACAF matches, Michael Bradley scored a goal in each half as the United States got off to a winning start with a 2-0 win over Mexico at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, got a second half double from Andy Furtado to cruise to an easy 2-0 win over Honduras away at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in Tegucigalpa.
Three teams will qualify automatically for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with the fourth-place team moving on to another qualifier in order to reach the Finals.