Trinidad edges Curacao in Caribbean Cup opener
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 Action from the Caribbean Cup game between Trinidad & Tobago and Curacao (white jersey) on November 11, 2014, in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Kevin Molino broke a second-half deadlock to lift Trinidad & Tobago past Curacao 3-2 in the first game of the 2014 Caribbean Cup finals on Tuesday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

The victory places the Soca Warriors -- buoyed by Kenwyne Jones' two-goal performance – into first place in Group A, at least temporarily.  Defending champion Cuba will meet French Guiana later in the evening. 

Trinidad responded swiftly on two occasions to either a deficit or an even scoreline to open successfully its bid for a record-extending ninth Caribbean title. 

It was Curacao, however, that would take the lead shortly after Trinidad’s Hughtun Hector flashed a header wide of the left post.  In the 18th minute, Rihairo Meulens ran on to a ball played over the top of the defense and without losing stride found the back of the net with a shot that appeared to graze the fingertips of diving goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams. 

Despite conceding early, Trinidad was playing well and did not panic.  Its persistence was rewarded with a 26th minute equalizer.

From a right-sided corner kick, Jones was pulled down in the box by Shelton Martis and referee Trevor Taylor did not hesitate to point to the spot.  The Cardiff City forward took the kick himself, drilling it home for his first goal of the finals and fourth of this year’s competition. 

Seven minutes before the break, Jones was in the right place at the right time to put Trinidad up 2-1.  The outstanding Molino, who captured Player of the Game honors, sent a cross on the ground from the left side of the box that goalkeeper Jarzinho Pieter could not corral. Jones was there to tap it in from close range. 

Pieter made amends a minute into first-half stoppage time, brilliantly blocking a point-blank effort by Molino. 

Curacao emerged from the interval at full throttle and leveled quickly. 

Gevaro Nepomuceno hammered an attempt from just outside the box past the near post, but half-time substitute Gianluca Maria was on target in the 48th minute to knot the score at 2-2. 

A moment of brilliance in the 52nd minute by Molino – positioned beyond the left side of the box --proved to be the difference as the Orlando City standout fired an effort inside the far post. 

Trinidad returns to action on Thursday against French Guiana, while Curacao will meet Cuba.

NOTES: Kevin Molino, the 2014 USL-PRO league’s Most Valuable Player, now has five goals in 2014 Caribbean Cup play (four in qualifying.  

2014 CFU CARIBBEAN CUP – FINAL ROUND

November 11, 2014: Montego Bay, Jamaica – Montego Bay Sports Complex

Curacao 1 (Rihairo Meulens 18’, Gianluca Maria 48’)

Trinidad & Tobago 1 (Kenwyne Jones 26’ pen, 38’; Kevin Molino 52’) 

Curacao: Jarzinho Pieter; Rhuently Martina, Jason Wall, Michael Fecunda (Gianluca Maria 46’), Roberto Wall (Vidarrell Merencia 56’), Rihairo Meulens, Gevaro Nepomuceno, Shelton Martis, Hartleyson Dometilia (Luidjino Hojer 39’), Charlton Vicento, Shannon Carmelia.  Head Coach: Etienne Sillie 

Trinidad & Tobago: Jan-Michael Williams; Daneil Cyrus (Justin Hoyte 56’), Hughtun Hector (Lester Peltier 62’), Kenwyne Jones (Jonathan Glenn 72’), Kevin Molino, Cordell Cato, Andre Boucaud, Leston Paul, Yohance Marshall, Carlyle Mitchell, Aubrey David. Head Coach: Stephen Hart 

R: Trevor Taylor (Barbados); AR 1: Venton Mars (Guyana); AR 2: Kenroy Willis (Cayman Islands); 4th: Wilson Dacosta (Bahamas)