St. Kitts forces a draw with late strike

After Jean Sarah headed in a first-half goal, Louis Chiffone could have doubled the lead in the 79th minute, but blasted wide from the goalmouth to waste a chance. Three minutes from close, Rogers Kimaree equalised for the Caribbean side with a placement on the run.

Players in action during the match between Mauritius and St. Kitts & Nevis.   -  AIFF

Building on the experience against India, Mauritius produced a composed performance in the second Tri-Nation Tournament outing against St Kitts & Nevis, but conceded a late goal to settle for a draw.

For most part, Mauritius had the upper hand. After Jean Sarah headed in a first-half goal, Louis Chiffone could have doubled the lead in the 79th minute, but blasted wide from the goalmouth to waste a chance. Three minutes from close, Rogers Kimaree equalised for the Caribbean side with a placement on the run.

The 1-1 draw at the Mumbai Football Arena left a handful of neutral fans delighted as they were treated to an action-packed second half under the floodlights.

St Kitts’ defence, anxiously passing back to goalkeeper to release pressure, were caught napping in the 19th minute. Pascal Balisson picked out team-mate Jean Sarah in the box with a floated ball and the latter dutifully leapt up and nodded home without any defender to trouble him. Mauritius forwards looked more creative and mobile right through the first half.

It looked more organised in the first half, showing punch in the attack just like it did against India. It closed gaps in the midfield and the defenders denied room for the opponents. Jean Sarah took off on a run down the left, dribbling and weaving past a succession of defenders before was brought down near the left flag.

St Kitts’ goalkeeper Jeffers Jamal palmed away an attempt by Jean Jacelyne. The team withstood waves of attacks by Mauritius, especially down the right flank.

James Caserne, under the Mauritius bar, had given team-mates tense moments, once charging out and missing the ball and later by fumbling with a collection. In the end, he could do nothing to stop Kimaree from scoring the equaliser.

St. Kitts will take on host India on August 24 in the concluding game.

Scores: Mauritius 1 (Jean Sarah 19) drew with St Kitts & Nevis 1 (Rogers Kimare 86).

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