2017 Caribbean Cup semi-finals: Martinique 1-2 Curacao

Curacao scored two second half goals to come from behind and beat hosts Martinique in rainy conditions at the Stade Pierre-Aliker…

The second semi-final saw Martinique take on Curacao at the Stade Pierre-Aliker on Thursday 22 June.

REPORTING FROM FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE – This was the match that many in the stadium had been eagerly anticipating: the host nation Martinique up against high-flying Curacao. The Martiniquais supporters made lots of noise and Yoann Arquin’s opener sent the home crowd wild amid heavy rain pouring down from above. Stephane Abaul ran through and passed to Christophe Jougon and the ball inadvertently fell into the path of Arquin who made no mistake.

The tie was evenly poised at the break. Curacao were going to have to take more risks in the second half in an attempt to draw level. Remko Bicentini made a change. On came Dustley Mulder for Shanon Carmelia in central midfield. Just before the hour mark, the dynamic of the game shifted. Curacao were awarded a penalty after Elson Hooi was quite clearly brought down inside the area. The referee Ricangel De Leca pointed to the spot. Gevaro Nepomuceno stepped up and dispatched his penalty with aplomb, targeting the bottom right corner.

After Nepomuceno’s goal, it looked as if there was only one team that was going to score. And that was Curacao. Central defenders Quentin Jakoba and Darryl Lachman were given relative freedom to roam forward and feed the midfielders. The home fans urged their country on, demanding more running and pressing. Wingers Jarchinio Antonia and Nepomuceno positioned themselves out wide as much as possible, making the pitch big and stretching Martinique. Leandro Bacuna unleashed a long-range shot which travelled straight down Kevin Olimpa’s throat. But the momentum was building.

Curacao’s second goal arrived through gangly centre-forward Rangelo Janga, who cushioned his header into the bottom corner following a pinpoint, inswinging delivery from Antonia on the left wing. The move originated with Bacuna driving through the middle and he initially tripped over, but recovered superbly to feed Antonia. The Go Ahead Eagles man looked up and picked out Janga beautifully. The comeback was complete.

Jean-Marc Civault modified the formation for Martinique. On came diminutive midfielder Dominique Pandor for right-back Nicolas Zaire as the formation switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Daniel Herelle and Stephane Abaul as the double pivot in midfield, Steeven Langil, Kevin Parsemain and Pandor as the attacking trio and Arquin up top. Langil made a couple of driving runs from the right wing, showing electric pace to beat his man, but nothing ever materialised. Johnny Marajo replaced Arquin towards the end and contributed to a late rally from the hosts. In stoppage time, Marajo flicked the ball over his marker and struck on goal, but Eloy Room in the Curacao goal was on his toes to deny the forward. Moments later, Parsemain let rip and again Room was even to it, acrobatically jumping to his right to make another important save at the death.

The Curacao bench ran onto the pitch at full-time to celebrate and Bicentini was lifted up in the air by his jubilant players and staff. Disappointment for Martinique, who despite putting up a late fight, were guilty of giving away two pretty soft goals from their point of view.

On Sunday, Martinique will meet French Guiana in the third place match before Jamaica lock horns with Curacao in the final to decide the 2017 champions of the Caribbean.

You can check out LigueFootMartinique and Nosta 12 for post-match quotes and videos on the game.

Martinique starting lineup: Olimpa, Zaire, Cretinoir, Delem, Jean-Baptiste, Herelle, Abaul, Jougon, Arquin, Langil, Parsemain. Manager: Jean-Marc Civault.

Subs: Vitulin – Jougon. Pandor – Zaire. Marajo – Arquin. Unused: Chauvet, Pastel, Dondon, Nedra, Louis-Jean, Audel, Angely, Narcissot.

Curacao starting lineup: Room, Martina, Jakoba, Lachman, Justiana, Carmelia, Bacuna, Nepomuceno, Antonia, Hooi, Janga. Manager: Remko Bicentini.

Subs: Mulder – Carmelia. Gaari – Antonia. Van Kessel – Janga. Unused: Pieter, Sumter, Statie, Maria, Agustien, Kortstam, Bernardus, Zschusschen.

Referee: Ricangel De Leca (Aruba). Assistant referee 1: Eugene Farro (Aruba). Assistant referee 2: Raidel Toledo (Cuba). Fourth official: Michel Rodriguez (Cuba). Match commissioner: Dominique Stowe (St Vincent & the Grenadines).

By Nathan Carr

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Thank you for reading! Feel free to leave any constructive feedback in the comments box below. You can check out the Caribbean Cup page here. Meanwhile, get in touch with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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