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Grenada defeated Saint Lucia 2-1 in a highly charged, action-packed thriller before a sparse crowd at the Victoria Park last evening to send the 2013 Windward Islands Football Tournament into a tailspin.
Billed as the tournament decider, the Grenadians were the aggressor at the opening whistle, mounting a series of goal raids and fluffing a number of scoring opportunities.
The approach by the Spice Isle boys had some persons thinking that Saint Lucia would be out of it before they knew it.
However, skipper Sheldon Emmanuel marshaled his troops and slowly the Saint Lucians began to return the favour. Their passing became sharper, the running of the ball took on a whole new dimension, and soon the Grenadians were feeling the pressure as the Saint Lucians mounted wave after wave of attack.
The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute when Jamil Joseph pounced on a loose ball to slam home the game’s opener. Jason Belfond the Grenadian custodian failed to collect cleanly and the ball spilled onto the path of the poaching Joseph who needed no second invitation to put the ball into the auld onion bag.
The Grenadians did not lay back and responded with a series of telling moves, which the Saint Lucians repealed and answered in kind; both teams going into the break with the score at 1-0 in favour of Saint Lucia.
Following the resumption, disaster broke for Saint Lucia who had their slender lead erased. Lidson Jules drove in a loose ball pass goalkeeper Randy Poleon who was seemingly unsighted by a defender, to equalize scores at 1-1 in the 46th minute.
The saying goes that when it rains it pours and so it was for Saint Lucia when in the 48th minute, Denron Daniel gave Grenada a 2-1 lead as the Saint Lucia defense failed to respond.
The Grenadians did not allow the Saint Lucians much space, cutting off the passes, at times were quicker to the ball as they did all was possible to negate the Saint Lucians passing game. The skills of the Saint Lucians made life difficult for the Grenadians and their employed tactics, which could have resulted in many players being cautioned.
Notwithstanding, the Grenada custodian had a number of outstanding saves that kept the Saint Lucians from equalizing, and after setting up the perfect plan in the 77th minute, skipper Emmanuel was only able to head inches wide of the upright off a well-taken corner kick.
The non-stop pressure applied by Saint Lucia kept spectators on their feet as the Grenadians stopped the attacks and responded.
It was a highly quality game that both camps spoke of despite the pain of Saint Lucia now having to wait for the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines versus Grenada game on Thursday night.
Thursday night’s game demands that for Saint Vincent to win the championship it must be by four clear goals. A drawn game will give Grenada the title, while a victory less that a four clear goal margin would give Saint Lucia the title.
Meanwhile in a lacklustre affair, the SVGFF President’s XI were defeated 2-nil by the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines national team with goals coming from Jolanshoy Mc Dowall in the 27th and Azhino Solomon in the 57th.
On Thursday night in the final night of action, the SVGFF XI and Saint Lucia will clash at 6:00 p.m., and from 8:00 p.m., Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada will clash in a game the out of which will decide which of the three islands competing will life the 2013 Windward Islands Football Tournament title.