Haiti's opening goal vs Grenada

Haiti’s opening goal vs Grenada

by Michael Bascombe at the National Stadium

ST GEORGE’S, September 4, 2015 – Grenada’s journey to FIFA’s World Cup Russia 2018 was hindered following a 3-1 defeat to Haiti in their first leg World Cup Qualification CONCACAF Third Round game here on Friday.

The Haitians are leaving St George’s with an important aggregate and will be full of confidence entering the return leg in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.

The home team gambled and survived early humiliation forcing goalkeeper Jason Belfon to pull off some excellent saves.

But Jean-Eudes Maurice had other ideas and capitalised on a miscommunication between David Cyrus and Shannon Phillip, heading the ball past a beaten Belfon in the 27th minute.

Grenada was not daunted by the one goal deficit and was gaining momentum on the visitors which paid off in the 33rd minute when York City striker Anthony Straker was pulled down in the box.

Straker was on target to convert from the spot and recorded his first international goal from nine appearances for Grenada.

The tied score was shortlived as Haiti took the lead for a second time in the 39th minute when Mechack Jerome’s free-kick caught a defenceless Belfon by surprise.

Haiti was firmly in control of the game at the interval, scoring from the two chances they received and Duckens Nazon’s 55th minute strike solidified their victory and despair to the home team.

But Grenadians were not prepared to go down without a fight and played a better 20 minutes of the game with Cassim Langaigne missing on the clearest opportunity to score in the 74th minute.

It was the kind of result Haiti wanted away from home and coach Marc Collat, a French native, was happy with the performance.

“Our boys knew that Grenada will be hard at us and they were but we pulled it off,” Collat said through an interpreter.

“We’re going home with the advantage and should do better but we need to play harder than this game because Grenada will be coming all out.”

Andrew Munro was unhappy with his side’s performance especially giving up on some opportunities. “We had a game to win and despite the experience of the Haitians we (Grenada) stood a chance,” he said.

“There were times we made too many errors and allow the Haitians to take control. We gave them two chances and they scored twice in the first half.”

Munro has not indicated any possibility of changes in the line up with the absence of veteran defender Patrick Modeste who withdrew from the squad due to injury.

Rohan George and substitute Henson Cuffie received cautions in today’s game and will add to the limitations on the bench.

But vice captain Anthony Straker remains optimistic about Grenada’s ability to move to the next round.

“The job is not done. There is still a game to be played and once the guys give everything then the result should show,” he said.

The second leg encounter between both teams is scheduled for Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Local Time.

In other CONCACAF qualifiers on Friday, St Vincent and the Grenadines defeated Aruba 2-0, El Salvador beat Curacao 1-0, Canada won 3-0 over Belize, Antigua & Barbuda edged Guatemala 1-0 and in one of the biggest upsets Nicaragua defeated Jamaica 3-2 in Kingston.

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