Action from the international friendly between host Trinidad & Tobago (red) and New Zealand on October 15, 2013, at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. (Photo: Allan V. Crane)
PORT OF SPAIN – New Zealand prepared for next month’s World Cup Qualifying playoff against Mexico with a 0-0 draw at Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday night.
A crowd of more than 10,000 attended the match at Hasely Crawford, which was Trinidad’s first in Port of Spain since a 3-2 loss to Finland on January 22, 2012.
“We’re definitely happy with the outcome today, if we have the same result in a month’s time we’ll be over the moon,” said New Zealand head coach Ricki Herbert, who rushed back to the team hotel to watch the completion of the Costa Rica-Mexico qualifier.
Though the encounter had few clear scoring chances, both sides did generate opportunities that could have resulted in goals.
In the 30th minute, an Aaron Clapham blast was brilliantly foiled by the Trinidad goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.
Three minutes before half-time, the Soca Warriors could have gone ahead, but New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss acrobatically knocked away a Kenwyne Jones free kick. Seconds later, Kevin Molino’s effort off a throw-in was blocked by a defender.
As substitutes were introduced after the break, pace and rhythm slowed somewhat.
With eight minutes remaining in regulation time, Trinidad defender Justin Hoyte did well to stop Kosta Barbarouses, who appeared to have a clear path on goal.
At the other end, as in the dying moments, Moss rushed off his line to deny Jones after the team captain was set loose by a telling pass from Ataullah Guerra.
The Mexico-New Zealand pairing will open on November 13 in Mexico City with the second leg taking place one week later in Wellington.