Caribbean Cup: Jamaica qualifies for Gold Cup
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Jamaica's Cory Burke (yellow jersey) is challenged by visiting goalkeeper Claidel Kohinor of Suriname during their Scotiabank CFU Men's Caribbean Cup match in Kingston on November 13, 2016. (Photos: Jamaica Observer)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica (2W-0D-0L, 6 points) will be making a tenth trip to the CONCACAF Gold Cup after earning a 1-0 win over Suriname in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup on Sunday at the National Stadium.

The third-round victory gave the Reggae Boyz the Group 1 crown and a place in the regional semifinals. Runner-up Suriname (1-0-1, 3) remains in contention for a Gold Cup berth, but will have to contest a playoff between three of four best second-place teams.

Cory Burke struck for the only goal in the 16th minute, when Owayne Gordon found the Bethlehem Steel standout from the left side of the box for an eight-yard finish. It was Burke’s second goal in as many Caribbean Cup matches.

“Qualifying for the Gold Cup was a priority,” said Burke. “As a new player in the national program, my aim is to try get more games and getting on the plane to the Gold Cup is next on my agenda. I believe we played well as a team, but we can still improve on our finishing. I am sure in time all things shall fall into place.”

The defending champion Jamaicans played most of the match with only 10 players as result of defender Damion Lowe being shown a straight red card in the 33rd minute for violent conduct, but Suriname couldn’t capitalize on the advantage.

In response to the ejection, Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore took off striker Dino Williams and brought on Oniel Fisher to play right back for Rosario Harriott, who was moved to central defense in place of Lowe.

“We kept calm despite being a man down.” said Jamaica goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake. “There were a few tense moments, but I made it clear to my backline that victory is a must and even if we had nine men, we had to remain composed and secure the win.

“This is a delight for us and we dedicate this win to the fans and now we concentrate on 2017 with the (Caribbean Cup) semifinals and the Gold Cup down the road.”

Whitmore, the only person to win the Caribbean Cup as a player and a head coach, said that he was confident of victory.

“I feel we were prepared,” the 44-year-old expressed. “Our goalkeeping coach Warren Barrett worked on penalties with the keepers. I worked on the passing with the midfielders, so going into this game we were confident. It was all about execution. We accomplished our goal and now we turn our attention to a busy 2017.”

Curacao, French Guiana and Martinique previously secured Gold Cup spots, while the Caribbean’s last possible berth will be decided in a round-robin playoff between Haiti, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago – three of the four best second-place sides.

The Haitians (1-0-1, 3) captured second place in Group 2 thanks to a 2-0 win after extra time over host St. Kitts & Nevis at Warner Park Stadium, also on Sunday. Wilde-Donald Guerrier (102’) and Duckens Nazon (119’) netted for Les Grenadiers, who played in the last two Gold Cups.

The Caribbean playoff winner will square off against Central America’s fifth-place squad for the last Gold Cup place.

UPDATED RESULTS & TABLES BELOW

2016/17 SCOTIABANK CFU MEN’S CARIBBEAN CUP

Third Round

GROUP 1

Jamaica 2-2-0-0-5-2-6

Suriname 2-1-0-1-3-3-3

Guyana 2-0-0-2-4-7-0

October 8, 2016: Andre Kamperveen Stadion – Paramaribo, Suriname

Suriname-Guyana 3-2 aet (0-1)

Mitchell Kisoor 58’; Galgyto Talea 103’; Ivanildo Rozenblad 110’ / Marcel Barrington 4’; Kai McKenzie-Lyle 120’

October 11, 2016: National Track and Field Facility – Leonora, Guyana

Guyana-Jamaica 2-4 (2-0)

Adrian Butters 7’; 30’ / Je-Vaughn Watson 63’; Dicoy Williams 88’; Shaun Francis 116’; Cory Burke 120’

November 13, 2016: National Stadium – Kingston, Jamaica

Jamaica-Suriname 1-0 (1-0)

Cory Burke 16’

GROUP 2

French Guiana 2-2-0-0-6-2-6

Haiti 2-1-0-1-4-5-3

St. Kitts & Nevis 2-0-0-2-0-3-0

October 8, 2016: Stade Edmard Lama -- Remire-Montjoly, French Guiana

French Guiana-St. Kitts & Nevis 1-0 (0-0)

Arnold Abelinti 63’

November 9, 2016: Stade Sylvio Cator – Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Haiti-French Guiana 2-5 (2-1)

Mechak Jerome 4’ pen; Duckens Nazon 27’ / Sloan Privat 38’, 58’, 64’ pen; Rhudy Evens 67’; Ludovic Ball 90’+1

November 13, 2016: Warner Park Stadium – Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis-Haiti 0-2 aet (0-0)

Wilde-Donald Guerrier 102’; Duckens Nazon 119’

GROUP 3

Curacao 2-2-0-0-7-2-6

Antigua & Barbuda 2-1-0-1-2-3-3

Puerto Rico 2-0-0-2-2-6-0

October 5, 2016: Stadion Ergilio Hato – Willemstad, Curacao

Curacao-Antigua & Barbuda 3-0 (1-0)

Leandro Bacuna 12’; Rangelo Janga 80’; Gino van Kessel 90’

October 8, 2016: Antigua Recreation Ground – St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua & Barbuda-Puerto Rico 2-0 (1-0)

Peter Byers 43’; Stefan Smith 86’

October 11, 2016: Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel – Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico-Curacao 2-4 (2-0)

Hector Ramos 16’; Michael Ramos 27’ / Rangelo Janga 69’; Leandro Bacuna 85’, 120’+1; Felitciano Zschusschen 97’

GROUP 4

Martinique 2-2-0-0-4-1-6

Trinidad & Tobago 2-1-0-1-4-2-3

Dominican Republic 2-0-0-2-1-6-0

October 5, 2016: Ato Boldon Stadium – Couva, Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago-Dominican Republic 4-0 (3-0)

Kevin Molino 14’, 18’, 55’; Cordell Cato 30’

October 8, 2016: Estadio Panamericano – San Cristobal, Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic-Martinique 1-2 (0-1)

Rony Beard 75’ / Steeven Langil 14’; Mathias Coureur 89’

October 11, 2016: Stade Pierre Aliker – Fort-de-France, Martinique

Martinique-Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 (0-0)

Kevin Parsemain 105’; Steeven Langil 120’