Haiti rebounded from their opening game defeat to thump Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 as the sixth St Kitts Football Festival continued Thursday night at Warner Park.
The Haitians celebrated second-half strikes from Pedro Paguero and Mones Chery to top the eight-time Caribbean Cup champions and leave themselves with a chance of lifting the title.
The tournament concludes today with Trinidad and Tobago facing hosts St Kitts and Nevis, who had beaten Haiti 1-0 in the Festival opener on Tuesday.
The game began an hour late because Trinidad and Tobago, last-minute entrants after Venezuela’s late withdrawal, arrived in St Kitts only two and a half hours before the scheduled 7 p.m. start.
Haiti held most of the ball possession in the first half and went close to scoring midway through the half when Peguero took a powerful free kick from about 30 yards out.
A diving Michael McComie, in the T&T goal, pushed the ball just outside the right upright, conceding a corner.
Trinidad and Tobago had an opportunity to take the lead in the 38th minute when defender Pierre Richards headed from off the goal-line after Haiti’s goalkeeper Gobart Fenelon’s failed attempt to deflect a Nigel Pierre shot away from goal.
The Caribbean’s fourth-ranked team went ahead two minutes into the second half when Peguero got a through ball from midfielder Ulcena Richardson and sprinted past two defenders.
His neatly-placed right foot shot easily beat goalkeeper McComie.
Five minutes later, Leonel St Preux sneaked up on the blind side of right back Lyndon Diaz, but McComie—diving full stretch—brilliantly tipped his shot over the crossbar.
Mones Chery hit a superb goal that sealed the win for the Haitians in the 63rd minute.
A stunning right foot thunderbolt from 35 yards out gave the Trinidadian goalkeeper no chance.
McComie was moving to his right to cover a diagonal pass over to the left flank and Chery struck the ball on the volley, high into the far left corner of the goal.
Trinidad and Tobago, ranked number three in the Caribbean behind Jamaica and Cuba, made a number of quick substitutions looking for goals but a combination of tight defence and excellent use of the goal line by Fenelon limited their scoring opportunities.
Pierre appeared to have pulled one back for Trinidad and Tobago in the 68th minute.
He received a deft pass from his fellow striker Peter Prosper and converted, but was adjudged offside by the referee’s assistant.
In today’s tournament decider, St Kitts and Nevis only need a draw to win their third St Kitts Festival title in a row, while T&T could snatch the title with a win by three clear goals.
Trinidad and Tobago—Michael McComie, Keyeno Thomas (Dwayne Demming), Lyndon Diaz, Anton Pierre, Dale Saunders, Kurt Williams, Nick Thomas (Andre Toussaint), Kevon Clement, Peter Prosper, Ryan Stewart (Devon Caseman), Nigel Pierre.
Haiti—Gobart Fenelon, Pierre Richards, David Saintcius, Stephan Guillaume (Yves Lapaix), Jemps Dorcelus, Mones Chery, Moise Saintil, Ulcena Richardson, Julien Romulus, Pedro Peguero, Leonel St Preux (Maxo Sampeur).