Boyz, Martinique chisel 1-1 draw in Caribbean Cup
Martinique’s Antoine Jean Baptiste (right) lunges to block Jamaica’s Jobi McAnuff in the Caribbean Cup Group B match Wednesday night at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. (Photo Paul Reid)

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- Jamaica's Reggae Boyz and French-speaking Martinique chiselled out a hard-fought 1-1 draw in their opening Group B encounter of the 2014 CFU Caribbean Cup at the Montego Bay Sports Complex Wednesday night.

Darren Mattocks put Jamaica ahead in the 13th minute, while Yoann Arquin equalized for Martinique in the 29th.

In the first game of the group, Haiti and Antigua and Barbuda drew 2-2. Scoring for Haiti were Jean Alcenat (23rd minute) and Kervens Belfort (36th), while Antigua's goals were scored by Myles Weston (58th) and Peter Byers (60th).

The results mean that all the teams in the group have one point, but Haiti and Antigua would be ahead by virtue of scoring more goals.

But there was no doubt that Jamaica looked more organised going forward, and had the bulk of the goal-scoring chances, but lacked that killer instinct required to punish their opponents.

In the third minute and Jamaica's first threatening move, hometown favourite Dane Richards used a combination of skill and pace to carve a path down the right side, but his final angled shot skimmed the crossbar on its way over.

After a spell offensive sway, Jamaica went ahead in the 13th minute when Vancouver Whitecaps striker Mattocks buried a low shot after the ball bounced favourably for him from a corner.

After dominating the passing game and looking more ambitious in attack, Jamaica relaxed their defensive stance and gave up what could be considered a soft goal in the 29th minute. A floated ball into area found favour with Martinique's Arquin, and he easily slipped the ball pass a hapless Andre Blake in goal.

Jamaica had a great opportunity to again take the lead when a floated free kick into the area fell kindly for Deshorn Brown, but the Colorado Rapids' man went for the mighty strike than the sublime touch from 16 yards, and the ball disappeared into the night sky.

As they did in the first half, the Boyz continued their eye-catching passing game in the second half, but still they lacked that dagger's edge to hurt their retreating French-speaking Caribbean neighbours.

In the 63rd minute, Jamaican supporters inside the stadium erupted into celebration when Norwich City's Jamar Loza, on as a half-time sub, put the ball into the back of the net following good industry by Leyton Orient's Jobi McAnuff, but the referee's assistant on the far side had his flag up for off-side.

On 71 minutes after a relative lull in offensive activity, Jamaica once again tested the water with McAnuff, who was high on his game, bursting into the 18-yard box, but with time and room he created for himself, the final shot was disappointing as it rolled harmlessly to the Martinique goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa.

In the 76th minute, the hosts got the ball into the goal once more with Mattocks stabbing home a goalkeeping spill from a Rodolph Austin 25-yard free kick. And again, the officials ruled off-side.

Jamaica will next face Antigua and Barbuda on Friday in the feature of a double-header at 8:00 pm, while Martinique and Haiti do battle in the curtain-raiser at 5:30 pm.

Group A action resumes Thursday with Trinidad and Tobago facing French Guiana at 5:30 pm and Curacao taking on Cuba at 8:00 pm.


Jamaica -- Andre Blake, Nyron Nosworthy, Jermaine Taylor, Alvas Powell (Hughan Gray 82nd), Demar Phillips, Rodolph Austin, Je-Vaughn Watson, Joel McAnuff, Dane Richards (Kemar Lawrence 70th), Darren Mattocks and Deshorn Brown (Jamar Loza 45th).

Subs not used: Craig Foster, Upston Edwards, Nicholy Finlayson, Michael Seaton, Ryan Thompson, Jamar Loza, Joel Grant, Romario Campbell, Duwayne Kerr.

Booked: Austin (31st)

Martinique -- Remi Mareval, Esor Marvin, Danielle Herelle, Jean-Sylvain Babin, Gael Germany (Dominique Pandor 81st), Harry Novillo (Kevin Parsemain 66th), Antoine Jean Baptiste, Christopher Glombard, Kevin Olimpa, Yoann Arquin, Julien Faubert.

Subs not used: Steve Elana, Mickael Malsa, Mathias Coureur, Geoffrey Malfleury, Jose Goron, Lionel Ravi, Bedi  Buval, Anthony Angely, Emmanuel Vermignon.

Booked: Mareval (25th)

Referee: Robert Garcia (Mexico)

Assistants: Ramon Louisville (Suriname), Ainsley Richard (Trinidad)

Fourth Official: Shervin Moore (Guyana)

Match Commissary: Hubert Isenia (Curacao)

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport editor

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