In the 2002 Gold Cup, Martinique midfielder Fabrice Reuperne missed a devastating penalty kick in a quarterfinal loss to Canada.
A 37-year-old Reuperne still remembered it, and then he made sure Canada remembered him with a 25-yard rising volley in the 93rd minute that sent his Martinique squad into a bench-clearing celebration with a 1-0 victory in a Gold Cup opener Sunday at the Rose Bowl.
“It was good revenge for him,” Martinique Coach Patrick Cavelan said.
The opportunity came off a poor clearance from Canada during a late corner kick. The ball popped out to Reuperne, who entered as a substitute in the 79th minute, outside the 18-yard box. He blasted a seemingly ambitious shot on his first touch. The moment was surely one of the most memorable for the tiny Caribbean island of 500,000 people.
“Very disappointed to lose in the manner we did at the end of the game,” Canada interim Coach Colin Miller said. "They were dangerous going forward.”
Martinique outplayed and outhustled a Canadian side that held the United States to a 0-0 draw in a January friendly. Martinique continually attacked and spread the field, outshooting Canada, 27-10, with a 13-8 advantage in shots on goal.
Martinique had several chances at goal in the waning minutes, starting when forward Steve Gustan was taken down on the edge of the penalty area in the 84th minute. But the referee decided to award a free kick from outside the box that attacking midfielder Mathias Coureur sent just over the bar. Gustan had two other scoring opportunities two minutes later but couldn’t convert.
The sloppy loss for Canada sends the squad into the meat of their schedule with tough matches against Mexico and Panama on deck.
“It’s a massive rebuilding process at the moment and it will be a long time before we fix this,” Miller said.
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