The Barbadian brigade managed to tame the Lions of Cuba in an exciting 1-1 draw in THE match of the Digicel Caribbean Championships’ Group G so far.

Both teams entered this fixture brimming with confidence following Barbados’ come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Suriname and Cuba’s 7-1 mauling of the Netherland Antilles. But with a recent history of low scoring draws between the two teams, the smart money was on a tightly contested affair.

The match itself began at a frenetic pace with two goal-line clearances in the opening minute of the game. Firstly, Hensy Munoz shot bobbled past Adrian Chase in goal only for Barry Skeete to clatter into the post for the clearance, then the resultant corner from Alain Cervantes was met well by Leonel Duartes only to be denied on the line once again.

Barbados responded in the fourth minute when Norman Forde relieved Duartes of possession along the left flank, his square into Mario Harte, who turned to fire, was met with even greater heart at his feet from the brave Molina in goal.

The teams traded attacks for the remainder of the half, going at one another like heavyweight boxers in a title fight, and although both teams landed some potential knock-out blows, neither could be downed in the opening round.

Both teams came out in the second half swinging, and though the score-line remained unmoved, the introduction of substitute Angus Doyle for Barbados in minute 58 foreshadowed what could possibly be the goal of the tournament.

Doyle was only on the park for seven minutes before the Barbadian bomber produced a bolt from the blue. Having taken up a position on the halfway-line, a long clearance from the back bypassed the transitioning Cuban’s, the bounce took Doyle to the edge of the center-circle, he took one glance up, saw Adrian Chase on the edge of the six-yard box and let fly from fully 40 yards. The ball sailed over the rapidly retreating Chase but perfection could not be stopped as the ball dipped under the bar to register what must surely be a contender for goal of the Digicel Caribbean Championships, if not the century. Even the comrades in the stands had to applaud their competitor’s efforts.

Cuban pride was restored almost immediately, as the fans were given something of their own to cheer about. For the second time in as many games, central defender Jorge Clavelo rose head and shoulder above the rest in the box from a Jamar Watson corner, his powerful header thudded into the net and parity was restored just three minutes after conceding.

The game exploded into life again when another dynamite strike from Doyle from 40 yards was denied by Molina. Cuba went close with a 30-yard effort of their own in minute 82, when Adrian Chase almost gave the game away as he collapsed on the Jaine Colome strike only to have it skid between his legs before recovering possession on the goal-line.

The final whistle went with the score tied at one apiece, the positions in the table unchanged with both Barbados and Cuba needing a victory in their final game to be certain of their progress in the Digicel Caribbean Championships.

Cuba: 12. Odelin Molina, 3. Yenier Marques, 2. Silvio Pedro Mi?oso, 5. Jorge L. Clavelo, 4. Hanier Dranguet, 14. Jaine Colome, 7. Lazaro Alfonso (8. Alianni Urgelles – min 60), 9. Alain Cervantes, 11. Hensy Mu?oz (17. Armando Coroneaux – min 74), 15. Leonel Duartes (18. Mario Ruiz – min 88), 10. Roberto Linares

Subs: 1. Dany Luis Quinteros, 13. Carlos D Francisco, 16. Reysandri Fern?ndez, 6. Yoel Colome,

Barbados: 1. Adrian Chase, 3. Jonathan Straker, 4. Omar Archer, 2. Barry Skeete, 5. Bryan Neblett, 17. John Parris, 10. Norman Forde (7. Donovan Lavine – min 85) 15. Romelle Burgess, 13. Mario Harte (11. Jamar Watson – min 58), 9. Riviere Williams (14. Angus Doyle – min 58), 12. Rashida Williams

Subs: 18. Bentley Springer, 16. Andre Daniel, 6. Rohan Hall, 8. Brian Gay,

Referee: Courtney Campbell (Jamaica)

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