Martinique defeats Nicaragua for impressive Gold Cup start
Steeven Langil (blue jersey) scored a wonder goal in Martinique’s win over Nicaragua in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 8, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. (Photo: AFP)
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NASHVILLE, Tennessee – One day beyond the four-year anniversary of a stunning upset win over Canada, Martinique moved atop Group B in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with an impressive 2-0 victory over Nicaragua at Nissan Stadium on Saturday evening.

The United States and Panama played to a 1-1 draw earlier.

Kevin Parsemain scored the lone goal of a wide-open first half in the 35th minute, when he jumped high to head home from 12-yards out a right-sided cross from Johan Audel.  It was Parsemain’s second career Gold Cup goal.

A remarkable individual effort by second-half substitute Steeven Langil doubled Martinique’s lead in the 66th minute.  The outstanding Audel played forward to initiate a counterattack and a sensational touch at the midfield line freed Langil, who went on a long run into the left side of the box.  He then cut inside defender Erick Tellez with a pair of touches, before blasting a high shot inside the far post from eight yards just one minute after entering the match.

Both teams had golden chances before Parsemain’s goal, but the goalkeepers did well, with Kevin Olimpa pushing aside Juan Barrera’s chance and Justo Lorente came up big to deny Martinique captain Sebastien Cretinoir.

The open play continued after the break.  In the 48th minute, the ball fell to Tellez’s feet off a free kick played into the box and the Diriangen defender knocked an open shot off the crossbar.

Martinique had two glorious opportunities to extend its lead in a two-minute span, but Lorente was huge both times, robbing Yoann Arquin and Parsemain with low saves.

Lorente, however, had no chance on Langil’s goal and Nicaragua tried to climb out of a two-goal hole.  Josue Quijano was played into the box, but Olimpa came up with a critical save as the ball deflected out for a corner.

Nicaragua played without suspended attackers Juan Barrera, one of the stars of its Gold Cup qualifying campaign, and Daniel Cadena.

Next up on July 12:  At Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Nicaragua will square off against Central American rival Panama and Martinique will meet the United States.

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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
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Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
Martinique v Nicaragua
Martinique v Nicaragua, July 08, 2017. (Photo: AFP)