Caribbean: Grenada and Guadeloupe qualify for finals
Grenada and Guadeloupe have qualified for the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup proper having finished in the top two spots in qualifying Group E. All of the games in this group have been played out in Grenada over the last six days and the top two eventually proved too strong for Puerto Rico and St Kitts & Nevis who gave a good account of themselves.
The first round of games saw both Guadeloupe and Grenada make their mark although the former left it late to seal all three points in their opening game against St Kitts & Nevis. Having led for most of the match Guadeloupe conceded a penalty with seven minutes to go which Jevon Francis dispatched to equal the scores at 1-1. Guadeloupe regained the lead just four minutes later however after Jean-Luc Lambourde struck the crucial winning goal and allowed his team to pip the game by two goals to one. Following that dramatic finish came Grenada’s first match against Puerto Rico and the result was hardly ever in doubt once Grenada took the lead just before half-time through Kithson Bain. After the break Bain doubled the lead before Ricky Charles sealed the deal with ten minutes to play. Isaac Nieves did score a consolation goal for Puerto Rico but by then the damage had been done.
Puerto Rico’s chances of progression to the tournament proper were dashed in the second round of Group E matches. Colin Clarke’s men were 2-0 down against Guadeloupe after just ten minutes and the situation got worse in the second half when Guadeloupe made it 3-0 with an hour played. Chris Megaloudis and Petter Villegas did their bit to make a fight of it and reduced the deficit to 3-2 with ten minutes left to play but, try as they might, Puerto Rico were unable to break Guadeloupe resistance for a third time. Delroy Facey scored both goals in Grenada’s match-up with St Kitts & Nevis as the hosts took the initiative from the beginning, scoring both goals in the first half an hour.
Guadeloupe and Grenada had already secured their places in the tournament before they were due to meet in the final group match on Tuesday. This match, however, still had some significance as the final rankings would determine who played in which group when the main competition begins in November. Surprisingly home side Grenada struggled and allowed the visiting Guadeloupe team to find the back of the net on three occasions. Johnny Tacita bagged a brace with Gregory Gendrey completing the scoring in Guadeloupe’s fine 3-0 victory which took them to the top of the standings. In the other Matchday 3 game St Kitt’s & Nevis restored some pride with Jevon Francis’ stoppage time strike separating them from opponents Puerto Rico in a 1-0 victory.
Guadeloupe will now play in Group 1 involving defending champions Jamaica when the tournament proper gets under way in late November while Grenada will be placed in Group 2 with tournament hosts Martinique.