Tuesday, July 29, 2008 – Ergilio Hato Stadium, Curacao: Grenada opened their Digicel Championships campaign by defeating Aruba 3-1 in an exciting action packed game that thrilled the 1,000 strong crowd in Curacao.
Grenada, who had been knocked out of the World Cup last month by much fancied Costa Rica, started brightly and in the opening minutes seemed as if they would take an early lead. However totally against the run of play it was Aruba who fashioned the first clear cut chance when Sylvester Schwengle crossed beautifully from the right for Marinanus Ridderbos to crack a bullet header just past the post.
For the remainder of the first half it was mainly Grenada who seemed to have left their scoring boots in the dressing room as chance after chance whizzed past Werleman’s post.
On 31 minutes Jake Rennie saw his tame effort easily dealt with by Werleman in the Aruba goal, who again performed heroics by keeping Ricky Charles thunderous header out with a fine one handed save on 39 minutes.
The chance of the half though was to fall to Jake Rennie when a clever little back heel by Charles found him all alone 6 yards out from goal with the simplest task of rolling the ball into the gaping Arubian net. Rennie, the crowd, the coach and even the medical staff spent the next 4 minutes to half time wondering just how he did not open the scoring.
Aruba brought the game to life after 5 minutes of the restart when on 50 minutes they took the lead after a well worked corner fell to captain and centre half Theric Ruiz who made no mistake from 6 yards out.
This certainly made the much fancied ‘spice’ boys realize they were in a game but to their credit they responded magnificently and wasted no time to regain parity when on 53 minutes Rennie made amends for his earlier miss by taking the ball from deep in midfield and cutting straight through the middle of the sleeping Arubian defence slotted the ball home past the advancing Werleman.
Grenada took control after this scare and looked to confirm their superiority by taking the lead but despite the jinking runs of Charles who was terrorizing Aldrick Connor at right back for Aruba, and the dangerous presence of Rennie up front, they simply could not find a way past Werleman.
The breakthrough for Grenada finally arrived on 76 minutes courtesy of a pin point penalty by Anthony Modeste who sent Werleman the wrong way in the Arubian goal after Jesus Paesch had taken down Wendell Rennie with a professional foul and subsequently received his marching orders.
Four minutes later the game was no longer in doubt when Shane Rennie, brother of Jake and cousin of Wendell, added the third goal from 5 yards out after another well worked corner straight from the training ground to set up a proud Rennie family not to mention a happy Grenada coach.
The result puts Grenada top of Group A with 3 points, setting up a titanic clash against Curacao on Thursday with Aruba hoping the ‘spice’ boys can beat the host country by more than two goals. All still to play for and all up for grabs in the opening Group A of the Digicel Caribbean Championships 2008.
Grenada: 18. Desmond Noel, 4. Cassim Langaigne, 6. Marc Marshall, 11. Anthony Modeste, 9. Ricky Charles, 25. Shane Rennie, 17. Nickson Baptiste, 23. Junior Williams (14. Wendell Rennie 70min), 10. Denis Rennie (30. Marcus Julien 62 min), 19. Jake Rennie, 2. Eric George
Subs: (5. Devon Roberts) (13. Marvin Federick) (27. Kimron Redhead) (30. Marcus Julien) (1. Ken Searless)
Aruba: 1. Jeffrey Werkeman, 5. Theric Ruiz, 2. Aldrick Connor, 3. Jesus Paesch, 15. Regilio Kartoredjo 9. Sylvester Schwengle 8. Clayon Maduro 7. Jonathan Oduber (19. Albert Grovell 37min), 14. Marinanus Ridderbos, 6. Giovanne Thode, 17. Carlos Quandt (11. Delano Cruden 36min)
Subs: (4. Francois Croes) (12. Jerneen Robert) (18. Marwin Ignacio) (20. Mark Kosten)
For match pictures and further information visit www.digicelfootball.com