Cuba lifted the Caribbean Cup soccer crown for the first time last Sunday, upsetting eight-time winner Trinidad & Tobago 1-0 in the final in Antigua.
Marcel Hernandez’s goal in extra-time from nearly 40 yards out propelled the Cubans to the win and a place in the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Gold Cup next year. T & T, Haiti and Martinique are the other Caribbean representatives.
Cuba bounced back after losing its first game 1-0 to Martinique to win the remaining four games by a 5-1 scoreline.
The win was sweet revenge for the Cubans, who fell 2-1 to T & T in the 1999 final in Port-of-Spain.
In the playoff for third place, Leonel St. Preux scored in the fifth minute of extra-time to lead Haiti to a 1-0 victory over Martinique.
Defending champion Jamaica failed to make it to the final four after losing 2-1 to French Guiana, 1-0 to Cuba and being held to a goalless draw by Martinique. The result means that Jamaica also missed out on a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup scheduled for the United States next year after eight appearances in the biennial confederation championship.
Jamaica reached the quarterfinals of the last five Gold Cups and only recently qualified for the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.