Saint Lucia played Curacao in the semifinals of the Inaugural CFU Under-15 Boys tournament in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.
In the earlier game, Dominican Republic had gone through to the final with a 1-0 win over Cayman Islands via penalty. Now it was time to discover the other finalist.
Playing at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex, Saint Lucia made one change from the team that beat Grenada 4-0 in the quarterfinals, Aaazah Daniel replacing Bryant Polius in the midfield. Tarick Sonson started in goal; Deshawn Roserie, captain Romario Lendor, Toyan Williams and Jadel Harrow in the back four; Dillon Fannis, Daniel, Djal Augustin and Gabriel Biscette in the midfield; and Linus Clovis and Riquelme Sylvester up front.
From the start, this was an exciting clash. Saint Lucia’s boys had been growing in confidence as the tournament wore on, scoring 16 goals in three games, and they threatened heretofore Curacao early and often.
In the 32nd minute, though, Curacao’s Jonathan Libania scored from just inside the box after some good build up. But the Saint Lucian lads never lost their composure, and kept moving the ball with great fluency and purpose. With less than half an hour remaining in the contest, they were rewarded with an equalizer from Linus Clovis in the 67th minute. But their joy would be short-lived, as Curacao retook the lead again just after the restart, Nathan Bernadina netting in the 68th minute to give Curacao the 2-1 victory.
Saint Lucia will now meet the Cayman Islands on Sunday afternoon from 5pm.
Having been beaten 2-0 by these same opponents in their opening fixture back in Anguilla last week, this return engagement should prove interesting. Saint Lucia have been growing from strength to strength, the teenagers settling well, gaining invaluable experience and learning with every match. But so have the Caymanians.
Regardless the outcome, Team Saint Lucia has done well to make it this far, and the young men have acquitted themselves well.