• Thursday Dec 13, 2012

    Martinique qualifies for Gold Cup with win

    NORTH SOUND, Antigua - With a 3-1 victory over French Guyana on Wednesday, Martinique captured the Group B title at the Caribbean Cup finals to earn a meeting with Trinidad & Tobago in the competition's semifinals, plus book a ticket to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

    At Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Les Matinino extended its Caribbean Cup unbeaten streak to nine games (5 wins, 4 draws, 0 losses) and will return to CONCACAF's showpiece event for the first time since 2003.

    The result eliminated French Guyana before the evening's second game between Jamaica and Cuba.

    Playing in their traditional all-white uniforms, an emphatic Martinique established the tenor of how it wanted to the game to be played, not allowing French Guyana the opportunity to dictate the early pace.

    The robust and committed, Frederic Piquionne put Martinique ahead in the 11th minute, contouring his body to head a ball past goalkeeper Laurent Pecthy into the net as both crashed to the ground. It was Piquionne's second goal of the finals, both of which gave his team a 1-0 lead.

    Kevin Parsemain, one of the Caribbean Cup's top players, doubled Martinique's advantage in the 33rd minute. The 24-year-old forward collected a long ball in an onside position from 20 yards and carried it directly towards goal, easily striking it past a flat-footed Pecthy for his second goal of the finals and 12th in this year's competition overall.

    Gary Pigree, French Guyana's impressive marksman, was completely marked out of the game; a tactic that was obviously an essential element of the Martinique plan. Without contributions from a player with nine goals in seven Caribbean Cup games, French Guyana had few alternatives.

    Parsemain played a role in closing out the Martinique goal account in the 78th minute, delivering a pinpoint cross to an unmarked Anthony Angely, who scored easily to make it 3-0.

    Three minutes later, the Jean-Claude Darcheville, 37, netted a consolation goal off a slight deflection. It was the former Bordeaux star's third goal in six Caribbean Cup games and it was nothing more than what he deserved for his outstanding play.

    A suddenly reinvigorated French Guyana tried to maintain the positive play, but the clock and Martinique had the final word.

    Martinique will meet Trinidad & Tobago in the semifinals, while Haiti will square-off against Jamaica or Cuba the same day.

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