Torres strikes late, lifts Cuba to draw with Haiti

Action from the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship game between Haiti and Cuba (red jersey) on January 15, 2015, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. (Photo: Mexsport)

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Yendri Torres scored in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to earn Cuba a 2-2 draw against Haiti in Group B of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Thursday.

Late pressure from Cuba forced two corners in quick succession and it was the second that bore fruit.  Eddy Luis Saname’s delivery took a bounce in the box before Torres fired home on the edge of the six-yard box.

Woodensky Cherenfant scored what looked to be the game-winner in the 73rd minute after a nice passing sequence from the Haitians.  Jonel Desire eventually squared the ball for Cherenfant, who took a touch to round a defender and slotted the ball past Cuban goalkeeper Delvis Lumpuy.

Haiti cancelled out Cuba’s halftime advantage through a long-range free kick by substitute Fernander Demas in the 57th minute.  Lumpuy was wrong footed and went too far to his left as the ball sailed into the center of the goal.

The Cubans nearly took the lead in the sixth minute, when Saname played a ball across the box as Haitian goalkeeper Ramos Pointe Jour came off his line.  Osmany Capote could not convert, striking the crossbar with the goal gaping.

Cuba did go ahead 1-0 in the 28th minute.  A defense-splitting ball from Roberto Peraza sent Saname racing towards goal.  Pointe Jour was off his line early and made a block on the forward's effort from just outside the box.  The deflection, though, fell to Caballero and he made no mistake into an empty net.

After Cuba’s opener, it was the Haitians that generated the more concrete attacking opportunities. 

Zachary Herivaux sent a header wide late in the first half off a corner and, four minutes after the break, Desire sent a sliding effort from close-range over the bar after an inch-perfect cross from Demas.

Frank Lopez had a pair of chances for Cuba within five minutes of each other.  The first came in the 58th minute after a chipped pass from Capote, but Pointe Jour blocked the midfielder’s shot.  Pointe Jour then did well to parry a free kick that seemed destined for the upper corner..

Both teams resume group play on Monday with Cuba (0-1-2, 1 point) taking on Canada (1-0-2, 3 points) and Haiti (0-2-1, 2 points) meeting Honduras (1-1-1, 4 points).  Those matches will also be played at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.