• Saturday Dec 15, 2012

    Trinidad returns to Caribbean final on penalties

    ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- Trinidad & Tobago will aim for its ninth Caribbean Cup title and first since 2001, advancing to this year's championship match by overcoming Martinique 5-4 on penalties after the teams played to a 1-1 draw in the first of two semifinals on Friday. It will meet the Haiti-Cuba winner, who are also playing at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

    The stunning result and the way in which it was achieved will live in the region's football lore, as the Soca Warriors' Richard Roy leveled on the stroke of regulation to send the encounter into extra time.

    Martinique started the game without its prized attacking duo of Kevin Parsemain and Frederic Piquionne, who combined to score three of Les Matinino's four goals heading into the semifinals . Perhaps, their absence led to a lackluster first half that saw both sides assume a defensive posture.

    The second half saw a more entertaining brand of football and the game opened up thanks to some clever midfield play from both sides.

    Parsemain did enter the game as a substitute and he made an impact. His superb strike put Martinique ahead in the 76th minute.

    While in possession, the 24-year-old striker stopped suddenly and turned sharply on his marker, creating significant separation. With a clear look at the goal, he fired the ball past Trinidad goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams from inside the 18-yard box.

    Piquionne came on in the second half as well and his contributions were meaningful. After Parsemain had another shot hit the left post, a Piquionne attempt from close range was saved well by Williams.

    Those misses proved to be costly.

    Trinidad finally got it right, though, when a brilliant pass from Kevin Molino with precious little time left on the clock found Roy for the equalizer. The 25-year-old hammered a shot beyond the reach of Martinique goalkeeper Emmanuel Vermignon, leaving no doubt where the ball would ultimatey come to rest.

    After a highly defensive 30 minutes of extra time, penalties decided who would advance.

    Martinique kicked first and got goals from Jacky Berdix, Sebastien Cretinoir, Steeve Gustan, and Parsemain, but Piquionne's effort was saved by a diving Williams.

    For the Soca Warriors, Densil Theobald, Molino, Carlyle Mitchell, Daniel Herelle and Atullah Guerra all converted to start a celebration on the pitch.

    The tournament's third-place match and final will take place on Sunday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.

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