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  • Sunday, July 16, 2000

    Trinidad & Tobago beats Canada in Cup soccer qualifier

     EDMONTON (CP) -- Everyone thought Dwight Yorke, the world-class striker from Manchester United, would be the difference, but it was the nobody from Joe Public who scored the crucial goal in Trinidad and Tobago's 2-0 victory over Canada on Sunday in a World Cup semifinal-round qualifying game.

     Angus Eve, who plays for Joe Public FC in Trinidad, scored a pretty goal on a long, arcing shot in the 43rd minute to break Canada's heart after the Canadians had dominated most of the first half.

     "Away from home, scoring first, you can relax and settle down and play a normal game," said Eve, a man who looks like he never gets uptight about anything. "I just like drifting inside. I got a seam and saw the goal."

     Those in the crowd of 25,208 who came to see Yorke weave his magic weren't disappointed when he iced the game in the 73rd minute on a breakaway.

     Most of the talk before the match was about how the Canadians had to defend against Yorke, who scored 23 goals for Manchester United last season and was England's Premier League football player of the year the previous season.

     Eve said having Yorke and Russell Latapy, who plays for Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League, on the pitch opens up the field for Trinidad's players.

     "The Canadians were always studying what Dwight and Russell would do," said Eve, who was mobbed by his teammates after his shot from 21 yards scraped over the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Pat Onstad. "That makes it easier for the other guys on the team to express ourselves and we take the opportunity to do so."

     It was a frustrating defeat for the Canadians, who outshot Trinidad 8-4 and forced goalkeeper Clayton Ince to make seven saves, compared to Onstad's one.

     "It was very disappointing. In the first half we couldn't manage our advantage," said Canadian coach Holger Osieck, who saw his team's 15-game unbeaten string snapped. "We outplayed them. When we had our opportunities we were not determined enough. We gave it away."

     It was also the second consecutive match that Canada was held scoreless.

     Forward Paul Peschisolido, who missed several golden scoring chances, said his team was "gutted" by the loss.

     "We're devastated," said the native of Scarborough, Ont., who plays for Fulham of the English First Division.

     "We've gone 15 games undefeated and now that it counts we've got ourselves down."

     Yorke's goal was worthy of his reputation. He dribbled the ball down the left side of the field, used teammate Arnold Dwarika as a decoy, then blasted a shot past Onstad.

     Yorke's goal came just moments after the Canadians argued in vain they should have been awarded a penalty kick after Trinidad defender Dennis Lawrence touched the ball with his hand in the penalty area.

     Referee Rodolfo Alexander disagreed and Canada had to settle for a free kick, which was blocked.

     "That was not the reason we lost the game," said Osieck.

     "We made our mistakes in a different position."

     The loss was a blow for Canada's hopes of advancing to the final round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup tournament in Japan and South Korea.

     Canada plays the semifinal round in a six-game, round-robin series against Mexico, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. With Mexico almost a lock to win the series, the rest of the teams are battling for the one remaining spot as only two advance to the final qualifying round for the region representing the North and Central Americas and Caribbean.

     Canada's next match is July 23 in Panama City.



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