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Digicel Cup ends in thriller as Jamaica retain title in shoot out

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Guadeloupe lose in killer fashion at Digicel Cup

Sunday, December 5th 2010 – Pierre Aliker Dillon, Martinique: Jamaica retained their Digicel Caribbean Cup crown in a magnificent game that ended in penalties after a 1-1 draw and extra timeThe Digicel Caribbean Cup Final, watched across the Caribbean, USA and Worldwide on www.digicelfootball.com, packed the Pierre Aliker stadium in Dillon, Martinique for what turned out to be a cracking finale to the 3 month tournament, the centre piece of Caribbean football, which is the Digicel Caribbean Cup.
Having lost to Jamaica in their Group I encounter, Guadeloupe started the match at a ferocious pace and with skipper Stephane Auvrey reinstated to his midfield berth after his semi final suspension due to yellow cards accumulation, the midfield battle was being won early by the French.
The defending champions however were not to be outclassed and with Dane Richards looking threatening going forward there was always the skill and experience of the Reggae Boyz that caused an immense and constant threat.
Collet was an ever imposing threat on the left for Guadeloupe as his sweet left foot tried to find Gendrey on more than one occasion but the Jamaican defence marshalled by skipper Thomas were standing tall and dealing well with the attacks.
Joint golden boot leader Dane Richards had a great chance on 26 minutes after a decisive run down the right and cut back by Eric Vernan which fell to Richards perfectly, and just as he was about to pull the trigger, three French defenders threw themselves at the ball to protect the goal.
The deadlock was broken in the 32nd minute when Austin’s run and cross down the right found Shelton at the back post whose delicate header back across goal was hooked into the roof of the net by an industrious Cummings who wiggled in front of the Guadeloupian defence to push the Reggae Boyz in front one goal to the good.
Guadeloupe were not going to fade away from this game, not in front of a massive “home crowd” cheering them on, and 4 minutes later they were level.
Hanany played a through ball to Gotin, and as the French striker came onto the bouncing ball just inside the right side of the box, he did not have to break stride as he smashed his half volley thundering past Miller in the Jamaican goal.
Cue hysterics in the crowds. Game on.
The second half started at the same ferocious pace and with both teams looking to take the edge the ball whisked from one end to the other. On 59 minutes another incisive run by Larry Clavier set up Collet on the edge of the box, and with the ball positioned favouring his left foot he curled the ball inches wide of the mark to the collective gasp of the large crowd.
Luton Shelton had lacked some quality service for the opening period of the second half as Guadeloupe controlled the midfield battle with Auvrey, Collet and Hanany really stamping their authority on the game. The one time Shelton did get in behind it took a last ditch intervention from Guadeloupe after a clever cute back from an acute angle by Shelton to prevent a Jamaican goal.
Jamaica had their best chance on 80 mins when Shelton fed Richards and just when the top Jamaican goal scorer looked like he was clean through, his first touch amazingly let him down to save the French from what would have been a certain goal. Despite Richards efforts to feed Cummings, the Reggae boyz failed to beat the front post and the chance went a begging.
With 2 minutes left of the 90 regulation minutes, Gendrey decided to take matters into his own hands and when he collected the ball on the wide right, his decisive dribble led to a thunderbolt strike from 20 yards that just flew inches over the bar to have the crowd on their feet.
As we entered additional time, Jamaica had their chance to win it, as Richards laid the ball off to Austin who side footed the ball into the grateful arms of Bus from 12 yards even though he probably had one of the fiercest strikes of a ball on the pitch.
With the two giants deadlocked at full time we entered extra time with Guadeloupe winning the toss and electing to keep the positioning status quo.
On 96 minutes Clavier’s dead ball effort from 14 yards deflected off the wall and when it seemed it may trickle in at the far post just when the far side for a corner much to the relief of the Reggae Boyz netminder.
Austin then showed just how ferocious his shots can be when he arched his hips over the ball that broke to him on the edge of the box and smashed his effort toward the bottom left corner of the French net. But Bus was in majestic form as he got down low to turn the ball around the post for a corner kick when it seemed the ball was going to squeeze home.
As we entered the second half of extra time the fiercely competitive sides were relentless and it was a testament to their stamina and condition as it was their fifth game in eight days.
Clavier had the chance to win it in extra time for Guadeloupe as he was fed by Auvray after a skillful run down the right led to his cut back to the French winger on the edge of the box but his shot was scuffed wide and away.
The two teams could not be separated and into penalties we went.
Guadeloupe won the toss and elected to shoot second. Rodolph Austin went first for Jamaica and scored followed by Clavier who made it all square. Shelton converted for Jamaica next followed by Gendrey for Guadeloupe. Woodbine and Collet traded scores before Vernan made it 4 for Jamaica. Currier put the French level before Smith made it 5 for 5 for Jamaica. Lamboude then stepped up and out his spot kick wide to the devastation of the home crowd.
Jamaica were crowned as the champions of the Digicel Cup for the fifth time and the second consecutive tournament. With it they win top prize of USD$120,000 and the coveted glory of Caribbean champions
Guadeloupe came a valiant second and qualify to the CONCAF Gold Cup and go home with USD$70,000
The Digicel Cup Finals were played from November 26 through to December 5 in Martinique with live television broadcast worldwide courtesy of Digicel as well as live radio coverage, images and updates on www.digicelfootball.com. Voting continues for the Digicel Player of the tournament until Monday 13th December.
For more information, access to match images and live score updates, visit www.digicelfootball.com.

Jamaica: 13. Dwayne Miller 4 Shavar Thomas (Captain) (5. O’Brian Woodbine 117 mins) 6 Jermaine Taylor 8. Eric Vernan 14. Omar Cummings 2. Richard Edwards (7. Lovel Palmer 68 mins) 11 Dane Richards 16. Troy Smith 17 Rodolph Austin 19 Adrian Reid (18. Kenell Moodie 84 mins) 21 Luton Shelton
Coach: Theodore Whitmore
1 Yohann Bus 18 Eddy Viator 4 Ulick Lupede 6 Stephane Auvray (Captain) 12. Cedric Collet 19. Larry Clavier 13 Jean Luc Lomboude 14 Julien Ictoi 17 Larry Hanany (8. Fabien Bolson 78 mins) 9. Ludovic Gotin (11. Mickael Antoine- Currier 105mins) 10. Gregory Gendrey
Coach:  Roger Salnot
Referee:                            Enrico Wijngaarde (Suriname)
Assistant Referee 1:            Adrian Goddard (Barbados)
Assistant Referee 2:            Ramon Louisville (Suriname)
Match Commissioner:          Hubert Isenia (Curacao)