Shell/Umbro jinx persists

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

Trinidad to face St. Kitts/Nevis in final

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, Cana-

Defending champions Trinidad and Tobago reached the final of this year's Shell/Umbro Cup when they defeated arch rivals Jamaica 4-2 in a dramatic penalty shoot out in their semi-final football match at the Antigua Recreation Ground yesterday.

After the scores were locked 1-1 at he end of regulation and sudden-death extra-time, the Trinidadians were more accurate with their penalties and secured a place in Sunday's final.

Trinidad and Tobago, five-times Caribbean champions, will oppose St. Kitts/Nevis in Sunday's final.

A Keith Gumbs penalty in sudden-death extra-time fired St. Kitts and Nevis to their 2-1 win over Grenada in yesterday's other semi-final at Warner Park, Basseterre.

Jamaica, the Caribbean highest ranked team, opened the scoring in the 21st minute through Theodore Whitmore and held on for a 1-0 half-time lead.

Whitmore was set up by English-based striker Paul Hall with a cross from the by-line which he headed past veteran Trinidadian goalkeeper Clayton Ince into the far corner.

Trinidad and Tobago equalised in the 65th minute when defender Marvin Andrews rose above the Jamaican defence to head a looping free-kick on the edge of the penalty area over
the head of advancing Jamaica custodian Aaron Lawrence.

Afterwards, neither team could find the winning goal and the match went into extra-time.

Trinidad and Tobago's captain David Nakhid had the best chance to win the game in the second minute of sudden-death extra-time but he powered a shot from inside the penalty area over the goalbar with only goalkeeper Lawrence to beat.

There was a dramatic start to the tension-filled penalty shoot out as Ansil Elcock missed Trinidad and Tobago's first kick when he struck the upright.

However, Colvin Hutchinson, Nakhid, Jerren Nixon and Sherwin Julien converted their respective penalties for Trinidad and Tobago.

Substitute Paul Young and English-based midfielder Robbie Earle had given Jamaica a 2-1 lead but another English professional Fitzroy Simpson and Dean Sewell were off target.

In Basseterre, Anthony Modeste gave Grenada the lead early in the second half, before Gumbs levelled the score in the 86th minute to send the match into extra-time and launch St. Kitts/Nevis into their first ever Caribbean Cup final.

After a competitive first half, Modeste was on target for Grenada in the 51st minute when he capitalised on a defensive blunder, and - left unchallenged in the six-yard box - placed the ball past Kittitian goalkeeper Sheldon Maloney.

The home side appeared deflated as the Grenadians took control and their goalkeeper Alvin Felix fended off the home side's attacks.

But a 60th minute substitution of defender Toussaint Riley with the experienced striker
Dwight Allers-Kelly lifted St. Kitts/Nevis' offensive game although Gumbs and George Isaac missed chances.

Then there were deafening cheers from the crowd of about 4,500, when Gumbs finished well from a rebound after a powerful left-footer by Isaac was blocked by goalkeeper Felix.

The momentum stayed with the home side in extra-time and they went close to scoring twice.

The winner came in the 17th minute of the extra-time period, when Grenada's 1989 Caribbean Cup MVP Steve Mark, who had an outstanding game, handled the ball - from a corner - after it had beaten goalkeeper Felix, and referee Ramesh Ramdhan awarded a penalty. Gumbs made no mistake from the spot.

St. Kitts/Nevis best ever finish in the Caribbean Cup was in 1993, when they placed fourth -
losing the third-place play-off to Trinidad and Tobago 3-2. They will travel to St. John's to meet the Trinidadians at the Antigua Recreation Ground.