PASADENA, CA – It came out of virtually nowhere.
Fabrice Reuperne launched a left-footed blast from about 25 yards, sending the ball zooming past Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan into the left side of the net. He had just buried the game-winning goal three minutes into injury time to give Martinique a 1-0 win against Canada in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup opening match at the Rose Bowl on Sunday.
The 37-year-old veteran sprinted from where he sent the booming shot towards teammate Kevin Olimpa. He jumped into the goalkeeper’s arms as others piled on, including members from the bench.
The final whistle soon sounded, but the celebration continued on Martinique’s bench.
Les Matinino had earned three points in the Group A encounter in a matter of seconds after spending most of the match pressuring a young Canadian team that found it difficult at times to penetrate on the opposite end.
The game’s only goal came at a time in which Canada appeared to be holding on, hoping to preserve the draw and leave California with a point.
But it was not going to happen. Not with Reuperne finding the back of the net with a blast that even had fans of Mexico and Panama – opponents in the nightcap -- applauding.
After an entertaining, but scoreless first half, Martinique came out of the break in an attacking mood.
Yoann Arquin didn’t waste any time dribbling up field to fire a shot in the 47th minute, forcing Borjan to dive to his right.
Martinique continued pressuring Canada’s defense. Team captain Kevin Parsemain attempted a couple of dangerous shots, forcing Borjan into a good save with a left-footed effort from about 15-yards out. In the 53rd minute, he sent a blast bouncing near Canada’s left post.
David Edgar had what perhaps was Canada’s clearest opportunity at goal in the second half, floating a header off the crossbar.
But it was Martinique that continued most of the attacking late in the match. The Caribbean side kept trying through the flanks. Steeve Gustan sent a shot from about 16 yards straight at Borjan, who slapped it over the crossbar.
Martinique led in most statistical category including ball possession and shots with a 27-10 advantage. It will next face Panama on Thursday in Seattle. Canada will take on two-time Gold Cup defending champion Mexico at the same location later in the evening.