Needing a perfect performance on both sides of the ball, the Cayman Islands National Under-23s sent the crowd home with a barrage of offensive highlights to remember in a 2-2 draw with Group C winner Haiti Sunday (28 July) in the final game of the CONCACAF Caribbean Men’s Olympic qualifying round.
After losing 1-0 to Grenada on Wednesday, Cayman needed a three-goal win to advance.
In the ninth minute, attacker Christopher Reeves muscled the ball of the Haitian midfielder, leading a counterattack up the wing where he found a streaking Elijah Seymour on pace who went airborne to tap in past keeper Isaac Rouad-Simon and give Cayman the 1-0 lead.
Haiti responded in the 25th minute when midfielder Dutherson Clerveaux paced through the Cayman midfield to fire hard from the edge of the box on keeper Albertini Holness who couldn’t corral the rebound, allowing attacker Peterson Joseph to gather the loose ball and equalize at 1-1.
In the 61st minute, a corner from Kareem Foster found left back Mason Duval on the far corner box, who then chipped a perfect pass over the defense and onto the foot of Leighton Thomas Jr. for a 2-1 lead.
However, just one minute into added time Haiti would equalize again as Peterson Joseph would rise above the Cayman defense and head in the brace to advance ‘Le Rouge et Bleu’ into the next round of the CONCACAF qualifiers. They’ll join Group A winner St. Kitts and Nevis, Group B winner Barbados and Group D winner Dominican Republic.
“We did enough to win the game,” said Head Coach Ben Pugh. “We went up 2-1 and pushed forward for another goal, but were susceptible to conceding, and that’s what happened. The players efforts has been outstanding, I am really proud of all of them, and am disappointed to not qualify.”
Cayman finished third overall in Group C with a record of 0-1-1, behind second place Grenada who finished 1-0-1, and group winner Haiti who was 2-0-0 after defeating Grenada 2-0 Friday at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.