Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CFU: Jamaica in line to defend Caribbean Cup title

Posted in International Football, North and Central American Football by peterbein on December 4, 2010
Stade Pierre Aliker

The Stade Pierre Aliker plays host to the Caribbean Cup final

Jamaica, defending champions of the Digicel Caribbean Cup, will face off against Guadeloupe in the final of the 2010 tournament to be played in Martinique tomorrow. Both Jamaica and Guadeloupe went through by virtue of a 2-1 scoreline against respective opponents Grenanda and Cuba.

The Reggae Boyz went into their semi-final against Grenada as the only team to have qualified for the final four with a 100% record from the group stage. This was by no means any guarantee that Jamaica would qualify easily for the final as Grenada really made the title holders work for their place in the tournament showpiece. It may have seemed that Jamaica would take charge upon going ahead in the 7th minute of the match through Dane Richards but his goal was cancelled out just six minutes later when Grenada’s Troy Smith got his team back on level terms. Both teams had plenty of chances to win the game in regular time but, with the score still 1-1 after 90 minutes, extra-time was needed to separate the two teams. Jamaica scored the crucial goal in the 96th minute when Kithson Bain was at hand to turn the ball home and give his team every chance of winning a second consecutive title and fifth overall triumph come Sunday.

Hoping to stop Jamaica will be a Guadeloupe team who have finished in fourth and third place in the last two tournaments and have reached their first ever final following their 2-1 defeat of the tournament’s surprise package Cuba. Reysander Fernandez gave Cuba the lead on 34 minutes to have his team dreaming of a first final appearance in eleven years but their dreams would be dashed in the second half as Guadeloupe came from behind to seal victory. Grégory Gendrey restored parity for Guadeloupe ten minutes after the break and it wasn’t until twelve minutes before the end until Jean-Luc Lambourde gave Guadeloupe the victory.

Sunday sees two matches finish off the tournament with losing semi-finalists Cuba and Grenada playing in a third/fourth place play-off, this will prove the support act to the final which sees Jamaica play Guadeloupe. Both matches will take place at the Stade Pierre Aliker in the Martinique capital of Fort-de-France.

CFU: Cuba shock Trinidad; Matchday 1 Review

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on November 28, 2010

Digicel Caribbean CupAfter the first round of games played in the Digicel Caribbean Cup, currently being held in Martinique, Cuba pulled off the biggest surprise in Group H when beating record champions Trinidad & Tobago whilst in the same group the host nation were held to a draw by Grenada. In Group I defending champions Jamaica got their campaign off to a winning start and they hold a two point lead in the standings following a draw for their other group opponents Guyana and Guadeloupe.

Trinidad & Tobago have won the Caribbean Cup on a record eight occasions and many had them down as one of the favourites going into this year’s tournament to win it again. Spirits will have been dampened, however, by the defeat they suffered to an improving Cuba team who scored a goal in each half in a 2-0 win. Jaime Colomé gave the Cubans the lead on 23 minutes and his team-mate Roberto Linares sealed the deal with eleven minutes of the game to go and helped Cuba to a morale-boosting victory which will give them confidence ahead of their next game against Martinique. The host nation could only muster a 1-1 draw in their opening game against Grenada who took the lead after 23 minutes thank to Kithson Bain. Martinique got back on level terms with ten minutes left to play after José-Thierry Goron scored from the penalty spot.

In the other group Jamaica, defending champions from two years ago, got their tournament off to the best possible start with a 3-1 victory over Antigua & Barbuda. The Reggae Boyz had a comfortable 3-0 lead at the half-time break thanks to strikes from Luton Shelton (2) and Dane Richards. Antigua and Barbuda did pull a goal back in the second half but the damage was already done and Jamaica comfortably saw out the rest of the game. A frantic last twenty minutes saw neither Guadeloupe nor Guyana get off to a winning start in their match, both having to be content with a point apiece following a 1-1 draw. Guadeloupe opened the scoring on 70 minutes through Loïc Loval but Guyana won a penalty with just four minutes remaining, Dwain Jacobs restoring parity and rescuing a point for his side. On Matchday 2 table toppers Jamaica face off against Guadeloupe while Antigua & Barbuda hope to win their first points of the tournament against Guyana.

 

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CFU: Caribbean Cup 2010 Preview

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on November 24, 2010
Jamaica 2008

Jamaica won the Digicel Caribbean Cup in 2008

After seven rounds of qualifying the tournament proper in the Digicel Caribbean Cup begins on Friday with eight teams hoping to reach the semi-finals at the very least. Reaching the last four will allow those teams lucky enough to do so to qualify for next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and, more importantly, be in with a great chance of winning the cup, which looks like the UEFA Europa League trophy, won last time by the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica in 2008. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks forward to the tournament.

GROUP H

Martinique is the host nation and the national team is hoping to emulate their only title success in this tournament which came in 1993, when they beat Jamaica on penalties following a disappointing final. Trinidad & Tobago, who easily topped their qualifying group, are the favourites to finish first in Group H and the hosts will be expected to take second spot. Cuba just came top of their qualifying group and they hope to reach the semi-finals like they did in the 2008 tournament, where they were unfortunate to lose in a penalty shoot-out to losing finalists Guadeloupe. The fourth team in Group H are Grenada, second in their qualifying group behind Guadeloupe, and they hope to go one better than two years ago where they lost 2-0 to Jamaica in the final.

FIFA World Rankings: Trinidad & Tobago 78; Grenada 91; Cuba 94; Martinique N/A

GROUP I

Defending champions Jamaica, who won the 2008 tournament under the stewardship of ex-Liverpool and England star John Barnes, are the favourites to retain their title in this year’s competition. The Jamaican squad is the only one in the tournament with a significant proportion of the players featuring for clubs outside their homeland, the majority earning a living in the United States Major League. Guadeloupe have finished fourth and third in the last two tournaments and will hope to improve on that record but they will be taken all the way in the race for the top two by Guyana who stand only four places below the Jamaicans in the FIFA World Rankings but who have only ever reached the top four in this tournament once before in 1991. Antigua & Barbuda finished on level points with Cuba in their qualifying group and they, like Guyana, have also only ever featured in the semi-finals on one occasion, all the way back in 1998 and the signs are that they’re not going to improve on that record this time around.

FIFA World Rankings: Jamaica 82; Guyana 86; Antigua and Barbuda 115; Guadeloupe N/A

The top two teams in each group will meet in the semi-finals on Friday, December 3rd. The tournament final will be played just two days later on Sunday, December 5th. All four semi-finalists will qualify for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

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CFU: Trinidad and Tobago top group; Guyana also through

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on November 9, 2010

Trinidad & TobagoQualification matches continue to be played leading up to the CFU Digicel Caribbean Cup tournament which will be played from late November. The latest round of qualifying saw Trinidad & Tobago book their place as easy winners of Group F whilst things were more tightly contested for the second spot between Haiti and Guyana. Saint Vincent & The Grenadines had to contend themselves with the wooden spoon.

Devon Jorsling proved to be Trinidad & Tobago’s top man in Group F as he hit five goals in three matches to help his team to a very easy passage through to the tournament proper. His hat-trick in T&T’s opening Group F match against St Vincent helped his team to a 6-2 win along with goals from Kerry Baptiste (2) and Hughton Hector. Even allowing for the fact that they had disposed of the weakest opponents in the group Trinidad & Tobago never looked back as they secured further victories against Guyana (2-1) and Haiti (4-0) in order to secure a full compliment of nine points and are rewarded with a place in Group H of the tournament proper alongside hosts Martinique and Group E qualifiers Grenada.

The fight for second place in Group F was between Guyana and Haiti and it went down to goal difference following their opening encounter ended in a goalless stalemate. With both teams defeating St Vincent by two goals the margin of defeat against Trinidad & Tobago became of vital importance. With Guyana only losing by the odd goal in three it was always going to be difficult for Haiti to match or better what their rivals had done. Haiti’s 4-0 drubbing confirmed second in the group for Guyana whose goal difference was three goals better and thus grants them a place in Group I of the tournament proper alongside defending champions Jamaica and Group E qualifiers Guadeloupe.

The final qualification group involving Cuba, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda and Suriname begins on November 10th with the top two earning the final tickets to Martinique from November 26th.

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Caribbean: Grenada and Guadeloupe qualify for finals

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on October 27, 2010

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.

CFU: Guyana, Dominica and Suriname through; Caymans miss out

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on October 19, 2010
Caribbean Cup

Logo for the Digicel Caribbean Cup

The CFU Digicel Caribbean Cup has completed its first stage of qualifying rounds following the conclusion of Groups C & D over the weekend. There would be celebrations for Guyana and Dominica, who both topped their respective groups, whilst Suriname went through as one of two ‘best’ runners-up in the group stages. This meant that the Cayman Islands, who were second in Group A, had to miss out on progression.

Group C of qualifying was played in Suriname, the former Dutch colony in the north of Latin America, and the home side were hoping to top the group in front of an expectant home support. However the group was to be a two horse race between the hosts and Guyana, who are just four places above Suriname in the current FIFA World Rankings list, and with both teams facing each other in the last game of the group it would prove to be a tight finish. Both teams won their fixtures against group opponents the Netherlands Antilles and Saint Lucia which set-up a decider on Sunday.

In front of a crowd just under 3,000 Suriname took the game to their opponents but the visitors drew first blood following Walter Moore’s successful penalty-kick on 17 minutes after Dwain Jacobs was brought down in the box. The match wouldn’t be truly settled until second half stoppage time, however, as Devon Millington scored the goal which decided the match and the group in Guyana’s favour. Nonetheless the home side would be celebrating too as their six points in the table were enough to take them above Saint Vincent (5 points) and the Cayman Islands (4) in the runners-up table. With two spots available for those teams finishing second Suriname and St. Vincent have further participation in the second stage of qualifying to look forward to whilst the Cayman Islands lose out altogether.

Three countries – Dominica, Dominican Republic and British Virgin Islands – were the last teams to fulfil their fixtures in the first stage of qualifying. The British Virgin Islands were well and truly battered by their two opponents losing by a combined score of 27-0 (yes, that’s twenty-seven!!) with the Dominican Republic scoring seventeen of them. This set-up a winner-takes-all clash between the big two of Group D and, in front of a crowd of six hundred hardy souls in Estadio Panamericano in the city of San Cristóbal, home team Dominican Republic fell flat in front of their home supporters. Dominica scored the only goal of the game through Elmond Derrick’s header from a corner with nineteen minutes of the game remaining and they held out in order to seal progression into the next phase of qualifying.

The second stage of qualifying will bring further challenges to those who have worked their way through the first stage. In the next stage there are three groups of four teams and the top two from each group will join official tournament hosts Martinique and defending champions Jamaica in the competition proper from November 26th. Here are the three second stage qualifying groups with official FIFA World Rankings positions in brackets:

GROUP E: Grenada (128); Guadeloupe (N/A); Puerto Rico (170); St Kitts & Nevis (151)

GROUP F: Guyana (120); Haiti (joint 123); St. Vincent & The Grenadines (153); Trinidad & Tobago (97)

GROUP G: Antigua & Barbuda (joint 123); Cuba (113); Dominica (178); Suriname (137)

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Caribbean: St. Kitts edge tough group; St. Vincent also through

Posted in International Football, North and Central American Football by peterbein on October 12, 2010

 

St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis topped Group B in CFU Caribbean Cup qualifying

 

St. Vincent & Grenadines and St. Kitts & Nevis scraped through a tough CFU Caribbean Cup qualifying group at the weekend. With both nations joined on five points along with Barbados after three matches there were a series of tie-break situations which came into play in order to split the teams. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the action.

All of the games in Group B were played in Kingstown on the island of St. Vincent and the three aforementioned nations were joined by lightweights Montserrat. On Matchday 1 Barbados and St. Kitts & Nevis got things under way with a 1-1 draw with Rashida Williams giving Barbados the lead after 14 minutes only for George Isaac to equalize for St. Kitts just after the hour mark and that was the way it stayed. The host nation then played its first match against Montserrat and destroyed their opponents by seven goals to nil with Shandel Samuel bagging a hat-trick and becoming the top scorer in the group with those three goals. It was clear to see that Montserrat were going to be the whipping boys of the group, hardly surprising as they are ranked joint last in 203rd place in the FIFA World Rankings, and they were made to suffer on Matchday 2 conceding five goals without scoring in defeat to Barbados. This meant that St. Vincent and St. Kitts would fight it out to try and wrestle outright first place in the table but neither side was able to after a 1-1 draw. Jevon Francis put St. Kitts ahead with five minutes of the first half remaining only to see Keith James restore parity on 73 minutes for the hosts. This meant that Barbados and St. Vincent led the table with four points after two games with St. Kitts on two points and Montserrat propping up the rest on nought.

St. Kitts had the luxury of facing Monserrat on Matchday 3 and they duly put four goals past their hapless opponents in order to take the group leadership with five points before the final game of Group B saw St. Vincent face up to the challenge of Barbados. If either team won this fixture then they would be guaranteed top spot in the group but a draw would make things difficult and fate was to bring about the dificult option after a goalless draw. It’s not as if both teams wanted to draw this game as they had two players sent off in a temperamental match such was the magnitude of the encounter. However they went off the pitch knowing that the scientists and mathematicians would have to get the calculators out in order to work out who had progressed.

In the end St. Kitts, St. Vincent and Barbados were all level on total points, level on points in games played against each other and, with all those matches being drawn, level on goal difference in games played against each other. What it boiled down to ultimately was the fact that St. Kitts scored more goals (two) in their head-to-head matches whereas the others scored one each so it was they who topped the group. To determine second in the group it went down to the totality of goals scored in the group stage and that honour went to St. Vincent having scored eight compared to Barbados’ six.

St. Kitts & Nevis’ reward for qualifying is to enter the next stage of qualifying in Group E alongside Puerto Rico – who topped Group A of qualifying – Guadeloupe and Grenada whilst St. Vincent & The Grenadines must wait and see who they will face as it is not yet clear who else qualifies as a best runner-up as there are two more First Stage qualifying groups still to play in the CFU Caribbean Cup.

Caribbean: Puerto Rico progress to next stage

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on October 7, 2010

Puerto Rico became the first team to progress to the second qualifying round of the 2010 CFU Caribbean Cup on Wednesday after their 2-0 victory over the Cayman Islands saw them top the group. All of the matches in Group A of the first qualifying round took place in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamón thus giving the host nation a clear advantage over the rest of their group opponents. Nonetheless it was the only place deemed suitable of hosting matches of this magnitude.

The action got under way on Saturday with the Cayman Islands droppoing two points in a 1-1 draw against Saint-Martin, thus allowing Puerto Rico to get a grip on the group straight away. Chris Megaloudis was on the score sheet twice for Puerto Rico as they withheld a late fightback from opening match opponents Anguilla to seal the game by three goals to one. Anguilla would then go on to lose their next group match against the Cayman Islands by four goals to one, this despite taking the lead through Adonijah Richardson, and were effectively eliminated from the competition. Saint-Martin’s fate was also sealed went they went down to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Puerto Rico and the host nation would then await the Cayman Islands in a winner-takes-all match.

Chris Megaloudis would add to his tournament tally by giving Puerto Rico the lead midway through the first half in front of a 3,800 crowd but it wasn’t until two minutes from the end of the tie when the hosts sealed the three points and the group leadership after Gadiel Figueroa scored his first goal of the competition to give Puerto Rico a 2-0 victory. Puerto Rico will face off against Guadeloupe, Grenada and the winner from Group B of the first quali-round at the next stage which begins October 22nd in Grenada. For the Cayman Islands they must wait and see if their four points is good enough to claim one of the two best runner-up spots. The final match of the group saw Anguilla claim third place in the group with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Saint-Martin.

CFU: Caribbean Cup 2010 Preview

Posted in International Football, North and Central American Football by peterbein on October 1, 2010
Jamaica

Jamaica won the Caribbean Championship for the fourth time in 2008

The 2010 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Cup begins its qualification process this weekend in Puerto Rico with the hosts battling it out with Anguilla, Cayman Islands and Saint Martin in one of four groups which will all be played throughout the month of October. This will then lead on to the second stage of qualifying which takes place over three weeks from late October to early November before the six qualifiers join defending champions Jamaica and tournament hosts Martinique in the tournament proper which runs from November 26th until December 5th. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks at the history of the competition and looks ahead to the first qualifying round.

The Caribbean Cup began life in 1989 with the inaugural tournament being won by Trinidad & Tobago who defeated Grenada by two goals to one with an unknown striker by the name of Dwight Yorke (whatever happened to him) scoring twice for the winners on the host island of Barbados. Trinidad & Tobago have gone on to become the record winners of this tournament having won it on eight occasions with only Jamaica being a serious threat to their dominance. The Jamaican national team won the most recent tournament in 2008 under the guidance of former Liverpool FC and England international John Barnes which was the fourth time that the Reggae Boyz have won this tournament following their previous successes in 1991, 1998 and 2005. Only two other countries – Martinique (1993) and Haiti (2007) – have known what it’s like to lift the trophy aloft at the expense of the big two with their victories coming against Jamaica and T&T respectively.

The first stage of the qualifying rounds are played from October 2-17 with three groups of four and one group of three fighting it out for the six places – four group winners and two best runners-up – to go through to the next stage. Here are the four groups that will begin the first round with their current FIFA World Ranking in brackets:

GROUP A: Anguilla (joint 203); Cayman Islands (181); Puerto Rico (170); Saint-Martin (N/A)

GROUP B: Barbados (121); Montserrat (joint 203); Saint Kitts & Nevis (151); Saint Vincent (153)

GROUP C: Guyana (120); Netherlands Antilles (166); Saint Lucia (186); Suriname (137)

GROUP D: British Virgin Islands (188); Dominica (178); Dominican Republic (181)

Once the six teams have been decided from this first stage they will then play in the second qualifying stage of the competition which takes place from October 22-November 14. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog will provide further updates and news from the competition as it progresses so be sure not to miss the latest action here.