WILLEMSTAD.- Curacao took an important step forward with a win in its first Nations League match, topping Haiti 1-0 in Group D of League A at the Stadion Ergilio Hato in Willemstad, Curacao on Saturday.
The victory was a historical one, as it marked Curacao’s first win over Haiti since March 5, 1950 in Guatemala City, Guatemala, (3-0), in the Central American and Caribbean Sports Games.
It was also the first-ever international match for Juninho Bacuna, younger brother of established Curacao star Leandro, and it appears international soccer will suit him well.
In the 70th minute of a back-and-forth contest, the younger Bacuna found the ball at his feet near the top of the box thanks to a winding run and lay-off from his sibling. The debutant slipped in Elson Hooi, who was able to beat Haiti goalkeeper Johny Placide for the deciding goal of the contest.
While Placide couldn’t keep the clean sheet, he was needed to maintain the one-goal lead late. An interesting bounce on the turf gave Curacao a one-on-one chance, but the shot-stopper made the save with his foot.
Haiti lacked some of the crispness it showed in getting to the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals just months ago and will look to clean things up in three days when the two teams meet again - this time at the Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince.