2014-08-28 / Sports

A Champion Is In Sight: Caribbean Cup Semifinals

Photos and text by
Ann Marie Turton

The Caribbean Cup semifinals round came to a close in the most dramatic fashion with last minute goals and questionable no calls. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica outlasted all of the chaos and excitement to make it to the final round to determine who will reign supreme in Caribbean soccer. St. Vincent defeated Grenada 2 to 1 in the day’s first match. St. Vincent scored off an own goal and a last second goal punched in by its’ captain Anselmo Cox, while Kimron Redhead scored Grenada’s lone goal.

“Some of our starters came a little late so it took awhile to settle in. But we began stepping up our game. Our guys were perfect in the second half, stated Vincentian head coach Andre Arthur on his team’s performance. We have a good chance to take it all”.

Both teams seemed evenly matched from the start despite Grenada jumping out to an early one nil lead in the first few minutes of the half. Grenada moved the ball and played good defense in the earlies but St. Vincent hung around long enough to mount a strong attack on Grenada‘s stout defense. Though its shots on goal were high and some too wide, St. Vincent kept looking for holes in Grenada’s defense or lapses in communication.

Communication indeed proved to be a problem for the twin island as its coaches could be heard yelling “stop holding the ball man; we’re not communicating with each other.” Nothing was working for St. Vincent for most of the half but it quickly began to pick up steam offensively as the half drew to a close.

A break was just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Vincentian team as it came out of halftime rearing to go, scoring off a penalty kick quickly seizing the momentum in the match. As Grenada began to retreat and play defense, the twin nation seized the opportunity to win the game. After having several calls go in Grenada’s favor, St. Vincent notched its final goal in the last few minutes of the match as its’ captain scored off of a well designed and timed run up field. After making the quarterfinals for the first time in years, St. Vincent bested Grenada to make another run at the Cup, but it will first have to get through tournament champions, Jamaica.

The defending champions took to the field against Guyana in the day’s second match in the hopes of reclaiming what is currently theirs, the Caribbean Cup trophy. In a much more uptempo performance, Jamaica took possession of the ball early and the game and essentially never looked back. Scoring was a total team effort as Daniel Shaw, Denzil Watson, Andre McFarlane, and Jermaine Christian all contributed to their team’s overall success.

“We were ten paces better. I thought it was the ultimate statement stated athletic trainer Shell Robinson on his team’s performance in the match. It was going beyond the call of duty and we’re about to take this thing (the trophy) back to Jamaica, concluded Robinson.”

After jumping out to a comfortable two goal to nil lead in the first half, Jamaica operated in cruise control for the rest of the match. Despite its lone goal scored off of a penalty kick by Tichard Joseph, Guyana gave away countless opportunities to score throughout the match. The match, which wasn’t as penalized as the previous one, was still physical in nature and at times very chippy.

Jamaica scored its final two goals in the second half, despite Guyana’s efforts to defend its every move. Despite losing the match, Guyana still had a great tournament and will contend for the third place trophy in next week’s final game.

So with the finals set fans can revel in the tournament glory for one last time on August 31st as the action gets underway at 2:30pm in East New York at Thomas Jefferson Athletic Field.

It is sure to be nothing less than a drama filled and memorable game.

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