Digicel Caribbean Cup – Game 23: Grenada, 3 vs. Puerto Rico, 1
Grenada opened another DCC campaign hoping to go one better than their 2008 runner up position by beating Group A winners Puerto Rico by a 3-1 scoreline in Grenada.
Both teams started well with Grenada looking very lively up front with Modeste and Charles causing untold damage with their strong physical presence. The vocal supporters of the Spice Boys thought they may have opened the scoring on 18 minutes when Shane Rennie hit a thunderous shot from the right that flew past the post.
Puerto Rico were not to be outdone and on 25 minutes Feigenbaum and Rivera combined well to set up Hector Ramos whose header drifted right of the post.
A minute before half time and the home side finally broke the deadlock. A long ball from the half way line found Keithson Bain who controlled well, came inside onto his right foot, and smashed the ball past Perez to send the Grenadian fans into hysterics.
What should have been a commanding half time break for Grenada ended in controversy when substitute Ian Perrotte, on the pitch only 6 minutes, was sent off for an off the ball incident in injury time at the end of the first half.
Puerto Rican coach Adrian Whitbread was forced into making a few tactical changes to try and get that elusive equalizer but his tactics backfired when on 66 mins keeper Perez fouled Modeste on the edge of the box resulting in yet another early shower for a keeper in the opening day of Group E. With all three substitutes having been used Rivera was forced to swap his outfield jersey for the keepers shirt, and as was the case in the opening game of this group, his first action was to pick the ball out of the net.
Having already opened the scoring for Grenada, Keithson Bain stepped up and smashed an unstoppable free kick from the edge of the box and into the roof of the Puerto Rican net.
As Puerto Rico came forward in search of a goal with Hector Ramos seeing his header rebound off the post, Grenada swept forward and made to three nil on 80 minutes when Ricky Charles ran onto a through ball from Marc Marshall to slot under the advancing keeper.
Puerto Rico responded immediately when substitute midfielder Isaac Nieves hit possibly the goal of the tournament when his 30 yard pile driver flew into the top corner breaking Noel’s hopes for a clean sheet and almost breaking the net in the same instance.
As the light drew to a close on this idyllic setting for Caribbean football, the two sides saw out the last 9 minutes with no further scoring to the delight of the home crowd and to leave the hosts sitting pretty and top of Group E in the Digicel Cup after one game.
Grenada: 30 Desmond Noel 2 Shannon Phillip 4 Curt Rennie 5 Cassim Langaigne 6 Marc Marshall 8 Delroy Facey (14. Marcus Julien 46 mins) 9 Ricky Charles 10 Keithson Bain (Rimmel Daniel 77 mins)11 Anthony Modeste 19 Patrick Modeste 20 Shane Rennie (16 Ian Perrotte 40 mins)
Coach: Franklyn Simpson
Puerto Rico: 1. Alessandro Perez 4 Elliot Velezlargo (11. Christopher Megaloudis 50 mins) 6 Alexis Rivera 7 Tyler Wilson 8 Andres Gomez (16 Isaac Nieves 58 mins) 10 Peter Villegas 13 Gadiel Figueroa (9 Eloy Matos Gomez 63 mins) 14 Joan Morales 15 Christopher Feigenbaum 17 Cristian Arrieta 19 Hector Ramos
Coach: Adrian Whitbread
Referee: Enrico Wijngaarde (Suriname)
Assistant Referee 1: Graeme Brown (St. Kitts and Nevis)
Assistant Referee 2: Ike Inniss ( St Kitts and Nevis)
Match Commissioner: Maurice Victoire (Martinique)