Cayman beats Saint Martin 1-0 on Ebanks’ penalty
Cayman kept alive its Group A title hopes Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Saint Martin at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. With the win, Cayman keeps pace with Barbados with a group-leading nine points in the League C division of the CONCACAF Nations League tournament.
Barbados remains the group leader on its goal differential of +8 compared to Cayman’s +1. Saint Martin and the US Virgin Islands have garnered just three points each in group play. If Cayman is able to beat USVI at home next month, that would set up a potential winner-take-all matchup at Barbados in both teams’ final Group A match.
“It’s great every time we play here,” Cayman Islands coach Ben Pugh said. “We always get good numbers out watching. We’ve obviously played two home games and won both games, so hopefully we can make this a little bit of a fortress and win our next home game here and that gives us a platform to then go away to Barbados.”
Barbados beat USVI 4-0 on Tuesday.
“The three points [Tuesday] were very vital,” Cayman’s Joshewa Frederick said.
Cayman wins on Ebanks’ penalty
Jonah Ebanks found the back of the net on a 75th minute penalty to lift Cayman to the victory and help the home team rebound from a disappointing loss Saturday, 12 Oct. that gave Saint Martin its only win in group play thus far.
“Just really pleased with everybody,” Pugh said. “The players, like I said, they bounced back really well, especially after the tough away trip where we lose heavy. It would’ve been easy for us to give up today but we kept fighting and we dug in.”
Frederick added, “We had the mindset, going down there losing, that we wanted to get our revenge.”
Saint Martin controlled the bulk of possession in a scoreless first half that featured physical play throughout. The score was still knotted at zero with 15 minutes remaining, when Michael Martin waved through the Saint Martin back line and was fouled in the box by goalkeeper Ulrick Luperon, giving Cayman a penalty.
With Martin getting treatment on the touchline, Ebanks buried the penalty and delivered Cayman the win. “It was very fantastic,” Ebanks told the Cayman Compass. “I’m very proud of the team for working hard, you know. The goal, the goal was amazing. It’s always good to score at home.”
Saint Martin’s Wilfried Dalmat was sent off in the 82nd minute as the physical play continued, allowing some breathing room for the hosts.
“The team was very aggressive but we competed with them very well,” Ebanks said. “And we grind to get the win.”