Puerto Rico defeat Haiti to march into CFU Women’s Under-17 Tournament Semi-Finals
Puerto Rico stunned rampant hosts Haiti, in a hard-fought closing match of Tuesday’s double-header at Sylvio Cator Stadium in Haiti.
The highly anticipated top of the table clash between the two teams lived up to the hype, and provided total entertainment to the over 3000 spectators who turned out to support the young ladies.
Puerto Rico’s players held their own in the first half against the high powered Haiti offense as they managed to neutralize the Tournament's leading goal scorer, Batcheba Louis, and her strike partners Isnada Lebrun and Rudena Paillere.
The match proceeded as an exciting, scoreless draw until the 63rd minute, when Puerto Rico’s Monica Ocasio took a corner which landed in the path of Marjorie Martinez who was surprisingly left unmarked, and she hammered the ball past Haiti’s goalkeeper Jonie Gabriel.
Puerto Rico put the game beyond doubt in the 75th minute, when Martinez again showed great agility to jump above her defender and head the ball into the back of the net, thus giving her team three points, an unbeaten record in the competition, and qualification for the semi-finals.
Coach of the victorious side Jeaustin Campos was elated with the win. “We knew Haiti would be one of the toughest teams in the competition, and they are playing at home so we had great respect for them. Our plan was to shut down the amount of space they like to play with and hopefully catch them on the counter attack and it worked.”
The outcome of Group B will produce Puerto Rico’s opponent for a keenly-anticipated semi-final clash on Friday September 27.
In the other match of the double-header, Antigua and Barbuda earned a measure of satisfaction with a 3-0 victory over the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). The win, however, is of academic importance as both teams have already been eliminated from the Tournament.
Hannah Goodwin put the 'Benna Princesses' ahead in the fourth minute when she lobbed the ball over the head of advancing USVI goalkeeper Levania Lawrence and into the back of the net.
Sabrina Tonge made it 2-0 in the 66th minute, when she was put through by Tavesa Anthony into the six yard box and easily slotted past second string goalkeeper Isis Collier. Tonge added her second goal in the 77th minute when she was again left unmarked on the edge of the 18-yard box, and easily ran into the goal area and rifled the ball past a diving Collier to make it 3-0.
The USVI leave the Tournament with the most unflattering team record, having won no games, scored no goals and conceded 32.