MIAMI, Florida – The group stage of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League has reached its conclusion with a number of unforgettable moments and performances. Of the 102 matches played during September, October and November in League A, League B and League C, here are the top five.
1. British Virgin Islands 3-4 Bonaire, Week 2, Group B League C
No League averaged more goals per game than League C, with 4.1, but this game shattered all goal-scoring expectations. After an early Bonaire goal, the British Virgin Islands asserted their authority and Jerry Wiltshire’s score in the 84’ had the Nature Boyz set up to earn the three points. But Bonaire would launch a furious late rally starting with Rilove Janga’s goal in the 88’, followed by a Charles Medway own goal in the 92’ and capped by Jurven Koffy’s stunning last-minute winning goal in the 95’.
2. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2-2 Suriname, Week 2, Group D League B
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname battled toe-to-toe in Group B of League B until the very end, so it is only fitting that one of their two contests goes down as one of the best matches of the group stage. Suriname were brimming with confidence after grabbing a 2-0 lead through rising star Gleofilo Vlijter, but Vincy Heat would not go down without a fight. Five minutes after Vlijter’s second score, the home side pulled a goal back through Cornelius Stewart, which set the stage for dramatic final half-hour. Vincy Heat pushed hard for an equalizer, and it would finally arrive in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Stewart converted a penalty kick, resulting in a share of the spoils.
3. Belize 1-2 Grenada, Week 1, Group A League B
In their previous match against Saint Kitts and Nevis, a late Jamal Charles goal earned Grenada a 2-1 home win and three points. Charles would then repeat that feat away from home against Belize. Deon McCaulay, Belize’s all-time leading scorer, gave his side an early 1-0 lead before Arthur Paterson’s penalty conversion tied things up on the hour mark. It looked for all the world that things would end in a draw, only for Charles to put on his goal-scoring superhero cape again and score in the third minute of stoppage time to earn Grenada the dramatic three points.
4. Cayman Islands 3-2 Barbados, Week 1, Group A League C
In the end, Barbados would win this group, but it took plenty of work after falling in this thriller away to the Cayman Islands. The two teams would exchange goals in a scintillating first 15 minutes before settling into an intense 90 minutes of football. Neither side would give an inch as play headed to the final 20 minutes. That is when things got really wild, with Jonah Ebans giving the hosts a 2-1 lead in the 70’, only for Rashad Jules to answer four minutes later. But the Barbados celebration had only just ended when they found themselves down again, as Jorel Bellafonte scored to make it 3-2 to Cayman Islands, a lead they would hold until the final whistle.
5. Haiti 1-1 Costa Rica, Week 2, Group D League A
Having met just four months prior in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup in which Haiti earned a dramatic comeback 2-1 win over the Ticos, there was no shortage of familiarity when these two sides renewed acquaintances in the CNL. Just like at Red Bull Arena in June, Costa Rica would hold a 1-0 second half lead thanks to Jose Guillermo Ortiz’s score, but once again Haiti would spoil the Costa Rican victory party by finding an 82nd minute equalizer from Frantzdy Pierrot to earn Les Grenadiers a precious point.