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Digicel Caribbean Cup Game 24 Guadeloupe 3 vs.Puerto Rico 2

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Guadeloupe ensured qualification to the finals of the Digicel Cup in Martinique by defeating Puerto Rico in Group E and ensure at least a top two finish in the first of the stage 2 process of the Digicel Cup. While the top position is still to play for, along with national pride, the French side have ensured that local interest will be at a prime as the close French rivals of Martinique and Guadeloupe now have potential for a mouth watering clash in the finals of the Digicel Cup.

Guadeloupe got off to an incredible start and opened the scoring in the easiest of fashions after only 47 seconds. Straight from the kick off Auvray moved the ball right to Fautrai who squared the ball across the centre of the goal for Gendrey to sneak in at the back post and pass the ball into the empty net from 3 yards.

Guadeloupe doubled their lead 9 minutes later when Collet, who impressed well enough from the St Kitts match on Friday to gain a starting berth, played a beautiful defence splitting through ball to Gotin to run on to. With just the keeper to beat Gotin  ran through the middle and slotted it comfortably under the on rushing Torres.

Puerto Rico were being well contained by a strong performance from Guadeloupe’s centre back and man of the match against St Kitts, Jean Luc Lambourde. It looked increasingly likely as if they would have to rely on a set piece to open their account as first Morales went close with a header from a Velez corner and then on 20 minutes Nieves brought a wonder save from Bus as he smashed a pile driver destined for the top corner of the French net from about 22 yards out after a short corner worked its way to him on the edge of the box.

Puerto Rico were thrown a lifeline when referee Carlisle Baptiste kept up this Groups tally of one sending off per game at a minimum by showing Guadeloupe goal-scorer Ludovic Gotin a straight red after he kicked out at Morales off the ball.

Ironically enough the French side took the initiative from the numerical disadvantage and should have made it three when captain Auvray played a great ball to Fautrai whose unchecked run from the right saw him clean through on goal only to be denied by a strong save from Ortiz who got down well to his to left to keep Puerto Rico in the game.

The second half continued with French domination and Guadeloupe made it three on 58 minutes when skipper Auvray ran through clear on goal after a break away with three against one from a Puerto Rico corner and knocked the ball passed the hapless Torres.

Despite having the numerical advantage and shifting formation to 3 at the back 4 across the midfield and 3 up front, the Puerto Ricans were struggling to get a grip on the ball in the midfield and looked  unlikely to get back into the game.

Puerto Rico finally made their numerical advantage count when substitute Morales played a fantastic through ball to half time replacement Megaldouis who spun on the turn and hooked his right footed volley over Bus to give the Puerto Rican’s a glimmer of hope.

That hope doubled when Puerto Rico pulled another goal back on 78 minutes when Villegas stayed calm amidst all the confusion to whip his free kick from the right side of the box into the top corner of Guadeloupe’s net. The free kick had been controversially awarded by Referee Baptiste after keeper Bus had seemingly made a clean tackle on the right edge of his box. The referee seemed to be the only man in the ground understanding what led to the free kick but Puerto Rico had little complaint as they pulled themselves back into the game.

Lambourde was unfortunate not to increase Guadeloupe’s lead when his 25 yard free kick smashed off the underside of the crossbar and bounced down and away from the danger zone much to the relief of Torres in the Puerto Rico goal.

The game flowed from end to end with Puerto Rico desperate to notch an equalizer. With 4 minutes left on the clock Arrieta spurned a golden chance for Puerto Rico when his tame header should have produced a goal but instead it fell into the grateful hands of Bus.

The final whistle came much to the relief of the French players as they notched a second successive win in dramatic fashion and kept their 100% record intact as they go through to meet Grenada on Tuesday to try win Group E.

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Written by jamarch