Kenwyne Jones 76th minute free-kick strike salvaged
a 1-1 draw for the national football team in its farewell
match as the Soca Warriors stretched its unbeaten
streak to six matches before leaving to camp in Europe ahead
of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
There was a buzz all around the capital as the hours ticked
away to the start of the game with some fans even making
it to the stadium several hours before kick off.
When the team was announced, cheers filled the air with
an extra loud crescendo for the man of the moment The
Little Magician Russell Latapy, who was appearing
in his last match on home soil as a T&T international.
The first half produced a calm display from the T&T
team who appeared generally more relaxed than during the
2006 World Cup campaign.
Latapy could have give the team a dream start within seconds
of the kick off when he followed a return from Stern John
on top of the box but his low shot was just wide.
The teams, spurred by the electric atmosphere, launched
attacks from the middle of the park with the pace of the
Peru forwards causing the T&T defence the world of worry.
Latapy was greeted by cheers every time he touched the ball
and much more so in the 10th minute when he swivelled between
two defenders only to be hacked down to the right of the
He dusted himself off to take the resulting free-kick and
drilled it around the wall only to see the Peru keeper
Leao Butron make a sprawling save.
The opening goal came in the 32nd minute when Wilmer Aguirre
was fed a speculative ball down the left where he proceeded
to outfox Brent Sancho with a cheeky flick which was covered
by captain Dwight Yorke.
There was a moment of miscommunication between Yorke and
Sancho and they crashed into each other leaving Jack stranded
off his line and Aguirre with the simple task of directing
his shot goal-ward where Gustavo Vasallo waited to apply
Latapy exited the field three minutes before half-time and
took a lap of honour, much to the delight of the fans.
The Little Magician received a standing ovation
from the appreciative local crowd, some too young to know
him in his heyday but all aware of his contribution the
In the second-half T&T reverted to a more disciplined
4-4-2 formation from the 3-4-1-2 which they played in the
first half to allow Latapy and Edwards more room in attack.
And it almost paid dividends in the 49th minute when skipper
Dwight Yorke saw his header clip the upright following a
left sided Avery John free-kick.
T&T continued to press for the equaliser and in the
64th minute second-half substitute Silvio Spanns cross
did not get the touch that it needed at the last post.
Samuel again caused the Peru defence some worry when, in
the 66th minute, he won the ball on the left side and breezed
past two defenders but his shot from a tight angle was muffled
At this point Perus incisive attacking runs and passes
put caution in T&Ts play as the local fans waited
with bated breath for the equaliser.
In the 76th minute Jason Scotland one of Beenhakkers
seven second-half changes was fouled on the top of the Peru
area and Jones, Whitley and Spann all lined up to take the
shot but it was Jones who polished off the chance celebrating
acrobatically while the Peruvians picked the ball out of
the of the net.
When he came on in the second-half Jones was announced as
the future of T&T football and his strike would have
done this title justice as it appears that the Beautiful
Game is in safe hands.