Haiti players and staff (pictured) celebrate after beating host Trinidad & Tobago on January 8, 2017, in Couva, to finish first in the Scotiabank CFU Men's Caribbean Cup fifth-place playoff. (Photo: CA-Images)
COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago – Haiti (2W-0D-0L, 6 points) remained alive for a place in this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup thanks to earning a 4-3 win after extra time over host Trinidad & Tobago (0-0-2, 0) on Sunday at Ato Boldon Stadium.
The victory gave the Haitians the top spot in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup fifth-place playoff, setting up a two-game series against the fifth-place side in the Copa Centroamericana, which opens Friday in Panama City.
Under Caribbean Cup rules, every match must have a winner, even if a penalty shootout is required. As a result, following a 2-2 draw at the end of 90 minutes, Haiti ended up with all points on the strength of a pair of goals from Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who made it 3-2 and 4-3.
Shahdon Winchester leveled at 3-3 for T&T in the 113th minute with his third goal of a thrilling encounter.
The Trinidadians needed a two-goal win in order to progress and Winchester played his part to halve that number in the first minute, when he netted from the top of the six-yard box off a Nathan Lewis feed.
Haiti capitalized on an injury to T&T’s Carlos Edwards to equalize in the 20th minute. With the Soca Warriors trying to get a replacement on for their captain, Derrick Etienne received in the left side of the penalty area Kervens Belfort’s quickly taken free kick and curled a right-footed effort brilliantly into the far-side netting.
Five minutes later, Trinidad was back on top. Referee Ricangel De Leca whistled Haiti goalkeeper Guerry Romondt for time wasting in the right side of the box. Without hesitation, Aikim Andrews put the ball down and slid a pass for Winchester to slot into a gaping net with his right foot from 12-yards out.
The sides were back on level terms in the 39th minute as Belfort headed home from three yards off Charles Herold’s left-sided corner kick.
A scoreless second half led to an extra 30 minutes of play with the three points still up for grabs, giving T&T another opportunity to gain a two-goal margin of victory.
In the 111th minute, though, another left-sided corner by Herold connected with a head. On this occasion, Baptiste was the recipient and, despite the best efforts of Hughtun Hector to prevent a goal, the ball crossed the line.
Trinidad knotted the score at 3-3 in the 113th minute through Winchester, who coolly swept Radanfah Abu Bakr’s flicked header off a long ball into the back of the net to complete his hat-trick.
Jean-Baptiste’s header at the right post – courtesy of Herold’s left-sided free kick – settled matters in 117th minute.
2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup – Fifth-Place Playoff (Match #3)
January 8, 2017: Ato Boldon Stadium – Couva, Trinidad & Tobago (Att: 1,724)
Haiti-Trinidad & Tobago-Suriname 4-2 aet (2-2)
Derrick Etienne 20’; Kervens Belfort 39’; Andrew Jean-Baptiste 111’, 117’ / Shahdon Winchester 1’, 25’, 113’
Haiti: Guerry Romondt; Mechack Jerome, Kervens Belfort (Romilaire Ambroise 115’), Charles Herold, Derrick Etienne (Paulson Pierre 92’), Sebastien Thuriere (Listner Pierre-Louis 19’), Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Wilguens Aristide, Jonel Desire, Alex Christian, Samuel Pompee, Head Coach: Jean-Claude Josaphat
Trinidad & Tobago: Adrian Foncette; Aubrey David, Radanfah Abu Bakr, Tyrone Charles (Cornell Glen 56’), Nathan Lewis, Shahdon Winchester, Carlos Edwards (Alvin Jones 21’), Andre Boucaud, Maurice Forde (Hughtun Hector 91’), Aikim Andrews (Trevin Caesar 69’), Kevan George. Head Coach: Tom Saintfiet
R: Ricangel De Leca (Aruba); AR1: Venton Mars (Guyana); AR2: Raidel Toledo Andino (Cuba); 4th: Michael Rodrguez Roque (Cuba)