DORTMUND, Germany (AFP): Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, who was called into the team at the last minute, pulled off a string of fine saves to give 10-man Trinidad and Tobago a courageous 0-0 draw with Sweden on their World Cup finals debut on Saturday.
|Trinidad and Tobago’s goalkeeper Shaka
Hislop (L) stops the ball next to Swedish
defender Teddy Lucic. AFP PHOTO /
The 37-year-old West Ham keeper replaced Kelvin Jack who injured his knee in the warm-up and proved to be the star of the show as the Caribbean side, the smallest nation ever to reach the finals, battled for a point in the Group B clash.
It was a remarkable result for little Trinidad who had Avery John sent off in the first minute of the second half, the first red card of the 2006 finals.
Ten against eleven is hard. I recognize that Sweden had the better chances, but when you compare the two forward lines then I am very happy and proud of the point we won,” said coach Leo Beenhakker.
It was a great performance by us,” added the Dutchman.
Swedish coach Lars Lagerbaack said the team was very disappointed.
The lads played well but the Trinidad keeper made some great saves,” he said.
We are in a tougher situation than we had hoped for before the match. We had some great chances, but failed to capitalize on them. This happens sometimes in football.”
In temperatures hovering around a sweltering 30 degrees, Sweden had the best of the possession and Henrik Larsson just missed out on connecting with a smart cross from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 22nd minute.
On the half-hour mark, Anders Svensson got in behind the defense but failed to connect with a long through ball.
Trinidad rarely threatened with skipper and former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke pushed back to bolster the defence, but Carlos Edwards brought a smart save out of Rami Shaaban. Five minutes before the break, Christian Wilhelmsson forced Hislop into his first serious save of the day and the West ham veteran then flung himself to his right to keep out an Ibrahimovic drive.
Trinidad were reduced to 10 men in the first minute of the second period when Avery John, who had already been booked for a 15th-minute foul on Wilhelmsson, lunged in with both feet on the same player and was red-carded by referee Shamsul Maidin.
Hislop then foiled Ibrahimovic again with a point-blank save before also denying substitute Marcus Allback with a stop at the feet of the Copenhagen attacker.