Saint Lucia entered their final preliminary match in the Finals of the 2014 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Men’s Under-17 World Cup Qualifiers 2015 fancying their chances of advancing to the next round in Honduras.
With several scenarios still in play, Saint Lucia had a win and a loss, whilst their final Group A opponents, Barbados, were winless from their opening two games.
And so the stage was set from 4pm Thursday at the Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. But apparently Barbados had not read the script, and it was Saint Lucia playing catch-up at halftime, down 0-1.
A second-half penalty chance was uncharacteristically squandered by Nyrone Winter, who led all scorers in the first round.
Thankfully, a few minutes later, Antoine Wilfred had Saint Lucia on a level pegging, the Canaries, Soufriere Comprehensive and Pioneers player netting for the first time in this competition, and giving his team a share of the points.
The Saint Lucians stuck around to watch the host nation play Trinidad & Tobago, a game that would impact their own fortunes.
Haiti won 3-0, playing unbeaten in Group A. Saint Lucia held on for second place, with a win, a loss and a draw. Trinidad & Tobago finished third, with two losses and their sole win coming against Barbados, who occupied the cellar position in the group.
Saint Lucia and Haiti now await Friday’s results in Group B. Cuba and Jamaica play for top spot in the group. The winner will play Haiti on Sunday evening, whilst the loser will play Saint Lucia on Sunday afternoon.
But all four CFU teams will advance to the CONCACAF Championship, which will also serve as qualifiers for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Chile 2015, which will be played next February in Honduras.
Guadeloupe and Martinique also play Friday afternoon. Trinidad & Tobago will be watching that one closely, as the better of the two third-placed teams will advance to the CONCACAF Championship.