ST. GEORGE’S Grenada, Tuesday, Oct. 26 – Guadeloupe finished their qualification campaign holding onto their 100 percent record and in the process ensuring that they enter the Digicel Cup Finals in Martinique having bested last Digicel Cup tournament’s runners up in a comprehensive fashion and in front of Grenada’s home fans.
The French could not have gotten off to a better start and as they did against St. Kitts, scored in the first few minutes of play.
Johnny Tacita, eager to prove his worth after failing to make a regular first team berth in the opening two games, showed coach Roger Salnot just what he could do when he powerfully headed home an inch perfect cross from Lerry Hanany on the right with only 3 minutes on the clock.
With Grenada wanting to repay the faith of the unusually large home crowd for a Tuesday afternoon kick off, home favorite Ricky Charles was almost on the end of a fine through ball from Curt Rennie on 23 minutes, but for some well timed defending from Gregory Gendrey.
It was Gendrey again that Guadeloupe had to thank for keeping the Spice boys at bay and going into the half time break goal less, after his last minute clearance from another menacing Delroy Facey run.
The action flew from end to end as the home side, buoyed on by a very vocal home crowd, wanted to ensure that they gained parity sooner rather than later. With Rennie cutting out Guadeloupe attacks down the right, he ventured forward more and more as the minutes wore on and after he failed to trouble Bus too much with his shot after 54 minutes he did set up Henson Cuffie who would surely have equalized but for the timely intervention of man of the match Gendrey.
As if his stoic efforts at the back were not enough of a thorn for Grenada, Gendrey broke all hearts around the stadium after he calmly slotted home after receiving an inch perfect pass from Larry Clavier on 69 minutes to leave Grenada with a mountain to climb.
With the Spice boys now needing to throw caution to the wind if they were to salvage anything from this tie, they pushed forward in search of restoring some home pride and give themselves a chance of still winning the group they hosted.
Any doubt of the result was wiped out though 10 minutes later when Tacita picked up his second of the night and Guadeloupe’s third after he ran through the centre of the home defence unopposed and with a clinical finish made sure the home fans sought the exit signs earlier than the final whistle.
Three nil it ended and with Grenada in second place and assured of their qualification, the defeat was not as wounding as could have been the case, while Guadeloupe showed the rest of the Caribbean why they have qualified for the last two Gold Cup tournaments consecutively, in the Digicel Cup tournament.
Next stop for these sides is Martinique on Nov. 26 for the 2010 Digicel Cup Finals.
Grenada: 30 Desmond Noel (GK) 2 Shanon Phillip 3 Michael Mark 4 Curt Rennie 5 Cassim Langaigne 6 Mark Marshall 8 Delroy Facey 9 Ricky Charles 14 Marcus Julien 18 Henson Cuffie 21 Lashley Cyrus (7 Kyle Joseph 57 mins)
Coach: N. Simpson
Guadeloupe: 1.Yohan Bus 2 Kevin LaCroix (3 Mathias Babel 82 mins) 5 Eddy Viator 7 Larry Clavier 10 Gregory Gendrey 13 Lean-Luc Lambourde 15 Willy Laurence (6 Mathieu Bemba 57 mins) 17 Lerry Hanany 19 Johnny Tacita 20 Dimitri Fautrai(11 Cedric Collet 72 mins) 21 Julien Ictoi
Coach: Roger Salnot
Referee: Assistant Referee 1 Graeme Browne (St. Kitts):
Assistant Referee 2: Ike Inniss (St. Kitts)