The 2023–24 Concacaf Nations League kicked off with two League B encounters among the opening day action on Thursday.
Saint Lucia rose to the top of Group A with a 5-1 victory at Sint Maarten. Guadeloupe also collected three points in their visit to Saint Kitts and Nevis to land the number two spot.
Sint Maarten vs. Saint Lucia
Sint Maarten and Saint Lucia met for the first time ever in a 5-1 victory for the visiting team at the Stadion Rignaal Jean Francisca in Willemstad, Curaçao.
The hosts nearly took a quick lead eight minutes into the encounter when a high press from Chovanie Amatkarijo resulted in a shot inside the box, but his right-footed attempt went just outside of the far post.
For the visitors, Dominic Poleon provided the early threats in attack with a drive towards goal and a shot at the top of the box in the 25th minute.
Saint Lucia took the lead when Poleon broke through with the opening goal in the 45th minute, finishing off a counter attack that began from defending a free kick on the opposite half. The assist came from Gregson President, who found Poleon inside the right side of the penalty area.
Poleon scored for a second time after stripping defender Sergio Hughes three minutes into the second half and getting past goalkeeper Tyrell Richardson.
Amatkarijo got one back for Sint Maarten, 2-1, with a sensational free kick that curled into the top right corner of GK Vino Barclett’s goal in the 51st minute.
Reeco Hackett-Fairchild retook the momentum for Saint Lucia by scoring in the 57th minute to make it 3-1 for the visitors. The opportunity came from a corner kick that was disputed until President found his teammate for a second assist on the night.
Poleon’s hold up play and footwork inside the box assisted second half substitute Ridel Stanislas and the fourth goal for Saint Lucia. Poleon completed his hat-trick in the 89th minute thanks to a ball inside the penalty area from Leaus Henville via Stanislas.
Saint Kitts and Nevis vs. Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe took a 2-1 victory against Saint Kitts and Nevis at the SKNFA Technical Centre in Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis. It was the first CNL encounter between the two sides but third overall.
Guadeloupe’s Luther Archimede opened the scoring with a left-footed strike in the 24’ off a precise pass from Ange Plumain.
Tiquanny Williams equalized the encounter for Saint Kitts and Nevis in the 45+2’ with a strike outside the corner of the penalty area into just inside the left post. The service came from a long pass over the top by defender Lois Maynard.
Kalonji Clarke delivered a threatening shot on target from a free kick opportunity in the 59th, but Guadeloupe goalkeeper Davy Rouyard was there to provide the block.
Fouls in the 63’ and 72’ minutes led to consecutive yellow cards for Raheem Somersall, leaving Saint Kitts and Nevis with 10 men for the remainder of the match.
Guadeloupe made use of the extra man advantage to break the deadlock in the 77’ with a conversion from substitute Tairyk Arconte.
The service came from a ball across goal from the left side by Matthias Phaeton in what would result to be the game-winning goal.