ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada -- Haiti overcame a one-goal deficit, scoring twice in the final nine minutes, to earn a 2-1 victory over Canada and clinch first place in Group A of the CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship at the Grenada Athletics Stadium on Monday.
All the goals were scored in the second half of a battle between two sides that previously secured semifinal places. On her 17th birthday, Sarah Stratigakis gave Canada a short lived 1-0 lead. Mikerline Saint Felix equalized and then Shelsie Melissa Dacius converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute to give the Caribbean runner-up a historic win
Haiti (3W-0D-0L, 9 points) will meet the Group B runner-up for a spot in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Friday's semifinals, while Canada (2-0-1, 6) will face the group winner.
Stratigakis, the Golden Ball winner at the 2014 CONCACAF Girls' Under-15 Championship, put home Jordyn Huitema's right-wing cross with a sliding point-blank shot past goalkeeper Kerly Theus in the 77th minute.
Four minutes later, Saint Felix scored her third goal of the tournament. After Melchie Daelle ‘Coventina’ Dumonay delivered a free kick from the right edge of the box, near the goal line, Nerilia Mondesir powered a shot that goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx punched towards Saint Felix. As she fell inside the six-yard box, the substitute connected with her left foot into the back of the net.
Dacius, who had a brace in the 13-0 win over Grenada, whipped her penalty into the lower left corner past Proulx for the game-winner after Kennedy Faulknor fouled Nerilia Mondesir in the area.
The Haitians had two opportunities to score in the opening half. Proulx came well out of the penalty area in the 15th minute for a clearance only to miskick the ball straight into the sky. As she scrambled back into box, Dumonay launched a shot that Proulx managed to save with a dive.
In the 27th minute, the Haitians were awarded a free kick as Proulx stepped over the line while throwing the ball to a teammate at the edge of the penalty box. Mondesir nearly made the goalkeeper pay dearly as she rocketed a shot over the defensive wall and off the left post.
The Canadians also hit the woodwork in the 43rd minute, when Stratigakis' attempt skimmed off the top of the crossbar.