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Posted March 27, 2003
                          
Jamaica trounces St. Lucia, Haiti narrowly beats Martinique in Gold Cup qualifiers
                  
By The Associated Press

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar. 27 - Jamaica trounced St. Lucia 5-0 while Haiti came from behind to beat Martinique 2-1 in Group A of the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.

Jamaica dominated in the game at the National Stadium, taking the lead through the experienced Andy Williams, who headed home from close range in the 10th minute. One minute later, striker Fabian Taylor blasted a powerful drive past Kester Erysthee into the St. Lucian goal.

Jamaica was up by three in the 38th minute when midfielder Cornel Chin-Sue ended a solo run with a curling shot that beat the diving Erysthee.

St. Lucia's best chance came in the 46th minute when the visiting squad was awarded a penalty after Jamaican captain Theodore Whitmore handled the ball in the penalty area, but Elijah Joseph shot wide of the upright.

The home team was rewarded through goals from Claude Davis (56th minute) and Omar Daley's 40-yard (-meter) shot in the 62nd.

In the opening game, Haiti were rocked in the fifth minute by Martinique captain Patrick Percin's curling free kick, which beat goalkeeper Heurlier Eddy at the near post. Haiti gradually got into the reckoning through an effective passing game and drew level after 22 minutes courtesy of captain Jean Robert Menelas.

Menelas got the winning goal in the 69th minute, capitalizing on an accurate cross from the left flank by overlapping defender Bilon Sully.

The second round of matches in Group A will be played Friday, with Haiti playing St. Lucia and Jamaica opposing Martinique.

In Group 'B' matches in Trinidad on Wednesday, Guadeloupe fell 3-2 to Cuba and Trinidad beat Antigua and Barbuda 2-0.

The two group winners will gain automatic qualification to the Gold Cup finals in the United States in July. The runners-up in each group will then join Honduras in a further three-team playoff to determine which additional two teams will go to the finals.

CONCACAF, which sanctions the Gold Cup, is the soccer confederation for North America, Central America and the Caribbean. (hc-imj)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

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