Antigua recovers to knot Haiti in Caribbean Cup

Action from the Caribbean Cup game between Haiti (red jersey) and Antigua & Barbuda on November 12, 2014, in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Antigua & Barbuda rallied from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Haiti on Wednesday as Group B play in the 2014 Caribbean Cup finals opened at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

After Jean Alcenat and Kervens Belfort staked Haiti to a 2-0 lead before the interval, Myles Weston and Peter Byers replied for the Benna Boys just minutes apart in the second half.

Host Jamaica and Martinique will close the doubleheader later in the evening.

Even though Antigua improved the level of its offensive performance over the final 45 minutes, it was goalkeeper Molvin James’ ability to stop goals throughout the night that proved pivotal.  The 25-year-old turned in a memorable display that brimmed with technique, instinct and strength. 

James’ only error of the night, though, resulted in the first Haiti goal.  He gave a ball away in the box, allowing an unforgiving Alcenat to tap home for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. 

The unflappable James then embarked on a stretch that would confound the Haitians, blocking a stinging 30-yard free kick by Belfort, before following it up with a pair of quick-fire stops. 

Shortly afterwards, he conjured up another miraculous block, but suffered an injury that required medical attention.  Fortunately, for Antigua, James got back on his feet and remained in the game. 

In the 36th minute, he was powerless to prevent Haiti from making it 2-0.  Pascal Millien set off on a powerful 30-yard run through Antigua’s spine and ripped a shot that James astonishingly saved.  The rebound fell to Belfort, who stroked it home from eight-yards out.

Antigua emerged from the break a different team and edged back into the encounter with entrancing efficiency. 

Calaum Jahraldo-Martin got things going in the 58th minute, endeavoring to work himself into the left side of the Haitian box.  The ball slipped across the defense to a waiting Weston on the right and he found the back of the net with his left foot from 10 yards. 

Weston was also in the middle of things for the 60th minute equalizer.  The Southend midfielder delivered a left-sided cross that Byers did extremely well to head past goalkeeper Jhony Placide from just outside the six-yard box. 

Haiti returns to action on Friday against Martinique, while Antigua will face host Jamaica.