RASHAD JULES was the hero for Barbados on Sunday night. It was his brace which propelled the local football team to a 2-1 win over Martinique at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
Jules’ two well taken strikes jolted an initially tentative home side into life and pushed them to a 2-0 second half lead before Martinique replied, giving Barbados a late scare.
Stephan Abaul pulled the visitors to within a goal in the final minutes, but the home side managed to hold on in the end, much to the satisfaction of the sizeable crowd on hand. Martinique played the second half with ten men after former West Ham winger Julian Faubert was dismissed in the 40th minute for verbally abusing referee Moeth Gaymes.
Goalkeeper Dario Weir had an excellent night in goal
Barbados started to exert steady pressure on the Martinique defence from the early moments of the second half, as chances were beginning to come regularly. Substitute Zeco Edmee saw a goal saving clearance deny him the opening strike after being slipped in by Jules, but the latter took matters into his own hands at the next opportunity to ensure Barbados grabbed the lead on 61 minutes.
A lofted pass from deep in midfield caught the Martinique defence high, affording Jules the opportunity to utilise his pace. The Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme midfielder motored past his marker, taking a glance up, before casually lobbing the onrushing Loie Chauvet and sending the home side 1-0 up.
Barbados and Jules doubled the lead seven minutes later, after the number 23 pinched possession deep in the Martinique half. Jules then surged through the defence and into the area, before thumping a left foot shot in at the near post in the 68th minute, placing the hosts firmly in control going into the final 20 minutes.
Catch me if you can! Rashad Jules eludes the Martinique defense to score one of his two goals.
The home side exerted total dominance over proceedings for the minutes succeeding Jules’ second, but were made to sweat late on when Stephan Abaul halved the deficit in the 84th minute. Martinique made the most of a free kick against the run of play, coupled with a momentary lapse from Barbados’ defence.
A ball chipped in behind following a block on the preceding set piece saw the entire back line somewhat naively expecting an offside call. Abaul ghosted in at the back post and kept his composure to slam home a well-controlled volley past Dario Weir, who had an otherwise excellent night.