Jamaica claims fifth Digicel Caribbean Cup title

Omar Cummings of the Colorado Rapids gave Jamaica the lead in the 32nd minute, but the ‘home team’ equalised five minutes later through Loduvic Gotin, and despite creating the better of the goal scoring chances, Jamaica were never able to find the winner.

In the penalty shootout, Man-of-the-Match Rodolph Austin, Luton Shelton, O’Brian Woodbine, Eric Vernan and Troy Smith were perfect for Jamaica. Gwada Boys, the nickname for Guadeloupe, placed themselves neck-and-neck in the shootout until their final strike which was side-footed wide of Dwayne Miller’s right hand post by towering defender Jean Luc Lamboude.

With the victory, Jamaica claimed the US$120,000 first prize, while Guadeloupe copped the US$70,000 runners-up bounty.

It was the first major trophy victory for head coach Theodore Whitmore, who achieved the unique feat of winning the Cup both as a player (1998) and as coach.

After a cagey first half hour in which Gwada Boys looked the better team, moving the ball through midfield into attack, the Boyz went ahead when Cummings spun 180 degrees on the six-yard line to smash home a volley into the roof of the net after Shelton had headed Austin’s teasing backpost centre pass back into the danger area.

It was the first goal of the tournament for Cummings, and as he celebrated so did Austin, who did all the hard work to create the opportunity. He robbed skipper Stephane Auvray of the ball just past the half line and powered down the right channel before passing from midway the penalty area.

But Guadeloupe hit back, thanks to clumsy play from the Jamaicans. Firstly the central midfielders got caught high upfield and the ball was played through, but an intended through ball should have been cleared by Jermaine Taylor, but the big defender missed his clearance all together and the ball rolled invitingly into the path of Gotin, who accepted gleefully by powering home after being well-placed inside the area.

Guadeloupe threatened to go ahead immediately after but the Boyz weathered the storm and had the better chances after without really dominating ball possession and movement.

But having looked good in their penalty shootout practice prior to the semi-finals, it was no surprise the Boyz were perfect from the spot.

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