Jamaica's Reggae Boyz failed to advance to the knockout phase of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Cup following a 1-0 loss to Cuba at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua last night, providing the final bit of punctuation needed to close the chapter on a wretched campaign.
General expectations were that it would be fairly standard progression for the Jamaicans, who headed into the tournament not only the defending champions, but also as the Caribbean's highest-ranked team and only representatives in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying hexagonal round.
The Boyz failed to register a single win in three matches, managing to score only once, in the team's opener - a shock 2-1 loss to French Guiana.
Jamaica finished at the bottom of the four-team group, managing just a single point from a draw against Martinique, who finished at the top of the group with seven points. Cuba advanced in second spot with six points, with French Guiana ending third on three.
Despite heading into yesterday's encounter at the bottom of the group, the national team found their destiny surprisingly in their own hands following a 3-1 win for Martinique over French Guiana in the opening encounter. The result meant that a win over Cuba would have been enough to secure a spot for Jamaica in the next phase.
The loss also means Jamaica will not earn a spot at next summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago rescued their hopes when they beat the Dominican Republic to reach the semi-finals and qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time in five years.
cancel out goal
In a must-win encounter at the Antigua Recreation Ground, T&T got goals on either side of half-time from Kevon Carter and Kevin Molino, to cancel out Kerbi Rodriguez's goal early in the second half.
The victory left T&T in second place on four points in Group A at the end of the preliminary round, with Haiti topping the standings with seven points after edging Antigua and Barbuda 1-0.
Antigua and the Dominican Republic both finished on three points to be eliminated.
The Trinidadians had suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Antigua in their opening game on Sunday.
In the feature game, the Antiguans had their hearts broken through an early Jean-Philippe Peguero strike.