• Sunday Dec 09, 2012

    French Guyana turns back Jamaica

    NORTH SOUND, Antigua - French Guyana made its Caribbean Cup intentions clear on Saturday, stunning two-time defending champion Jamaica 2-1 in the Group B opener for each at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. The victory plants it into a first-place tie with Martinique, which defeated Cuba 1-0 earlier in the day.

    Gary Pigree, the impressive French Guyana forward, netted his eighth goal in seven Caribbean Cup games to open the scoring. A splendid solo run by Jean-Claude Darcheville unbalanced the Jamaican defense. Rather than take the shot himself, the former Rangers and Bordeaux star unselfishly located Pigree advancing from the right.

    The 24-year-old appeared to have mistimed his attempt, but Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller failed to collect cleanly and the ball rolled into the net, giving the upstart a 19th minute 1-0 lead.

    But that joy was short lived as Jamaica's Tramaine Stewart tore down the right flank into the 18-yard box and, without hesitation, hammered a shot past helpless goalkeeper Laurent Pecthy to level the score just three minutes later.

    The Reggae Boyz came out for the second half in a spirited mood, but it was French Guyana that got the goal.

    In the 48th minute, the 37-year-old Darcheville threaded another precise pass, this time to Rudy Evans, who tallied to give French Guyana a 2-1 advantage that it would never relinquish.

    Jamaica had a chance to salvage a point with 10 minutes remaining, but Pecthy demonstrated his class and sealed a win for his side by saving back-to-back efforts from Darren Mattocks and Demar Phillips.

    Group B play continues on Monday with another doubleheader. French Guyana will face Cuba in the opener, followed by a meeting between Jamaica and Martinique.

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