Haiti let two goals slip to draw with Antigua
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:Antigua and Barbuda head coach Ralston 'Debu' Williams was an elated man as his team overturned a 2-0 half-time deficit to draw their Caribbean Cup Group B opener against Haiti at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Wednesday.
It was an entertaining match that saw the Haitians taking the lead in the 23rd minute from a Jean Sony Alcenat goal and a second through the spirited Kervens Belfort.
Antigua got back into the contest in the 59th minute when Myles Weston beat Jhony Placide in goal for Haiti, and a minute later, the talented Peter Byers broke Haitian hearts with a powerful header to equalise.
A switch in tactics at the start of the second half gave the Antiguans more room with the ball at their feet, and they duly made the Haitians pay. The Haitians, however, kept Antiguan keeper Brenton Muhammad quite busy.
MUHAMMAD, THE STAR BOY
Muhammad drew praise from his coach, who labelled him a star for his efforts, which included critical saves, some at point-blank range, to stop the Haitians from running away with the match from the first half.
"He was brilliant for us again," Muhammad said, "Brenton again proved he is a top-rated keeper and his saves kept us in the game until we scored," he said.
Muhammad could do nothing, however, to stop Alcenot's goal. The forward was allowed to capitalise on the initial save from Muhammad, but the rebound fell kindly for him to slam it into the back of the net.
Muhammad conceded the second in almost identical circumstances, after Haitian midfielder Pascal Millien outsmarted three defenders on his way to a shot that took a deflection. It fell nicely for Belfort and his first-time effort left the keeper scrambling to make the save.
The score then was 2-0, and Haiti seemed like running away with the game, until Muhammad began his heroics.
"We knew we had to change some things and it's what we did during the break. And it worked for us, as it gave us more space to work with," Williams noted.
The tactical adjustments brought the Antiguans right back into the contest, scoring twice for a well-earned draw.