Hislop the hero

A 60,000 strong sea of red, black, yellow and blue saw Cup debutants Trinidad & Tobago hold highly fancied Sweden to a thrilling 0-0 draw at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.

    In safe hands: Shaka Hislop's night to remember

    In dramatic circumstances, reserve Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was called into the starting line up just 10 minutes before kick-off when regular No. 1 Kelvin Jack was injured in the pre-match warm up.

    With his side down to 10 men, the West Ham United keeper played the match of his life on the biggest footballing stage as he pulled off save after save against a rampant Swedish forward line.

    There will be mass celebrations in the twin-island capital Port of Spain, and Patrick Manning, the prime minister, may well declare another public holiday to give tonight's feat equal commemoration to the day T&T qualified for their first World Cup.

    First red card

    A rash challenge by Trinidad & Tobago left back Avery John on Swedish midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson just moments into the second half saw the New England Revolution defender dismissed for a second bookable offence. 

    John had been yellow carded in the first half for a similar lunging tackle on the same opposing player, and Singaporean referee Shamsul Maidin had no hesitation in producing the second caution, sending John to the showers early.

    This caused T&T coach Leo Beenhakker to make a tactical substitute, bringing on midfielder Cornell Glen for the unlucky Collin Samuel who had been having an enterprising match up front for the Soca Warriors.

    Glen almost had a massive impact on the match with a dipping shot in the 59th minute, while down the other end Hislop pulled off a point blank save from Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a 10-man T&T beginning to struggle at the back.

    Frustrated Sweden

    Sensing the chance for victory, Swedish coach Lars Lagerback threw on FC Copenhagen striker Marcus Allback for midfielder Anders Svensson with half an hour to play in an attempt to gain all three points.

    Evenly poised: Larsson and Yorke
    fight for possession

    However, the Caribbean outfit scrambled well in defence and were admirably led by captain and Sydney FC player Dwight Yorke.

    Sweden tried hard throughout but the match belonged to Hislop and his fellow Warriors with the Cup debutants earning their first World Cup point in their maiden World Cup appearance.

    Earlier, the first half opened up into an up tempo end-to-end affair with plenty of crisp, accurate passing from both sides.

    The attacking trio of Ibrahimovic, Henrik Larsson and Freddie Ljungberg combined to create several shooting chances, but the T&T defence was good enough to keep the Swedes at bay.

    A Ljungberg cross from the right in the 38th minute found Larsson at the far post, but his powerful header sailed over the bar, while a rasping drive by Wilhelmsson two minutes later brought keeper Hislop and the crowd to life.

    The man of the night sprung into action again when Ibrahimovic pulled the trigger on a shot from inside the box, with the T&T custodian pulling off another great save to keep the scoreline even.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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