Bermuda’s hopes hanging by a thread
Cuba 2 Bermuda 0
Bermuda were left ruing missed chances after their loss to Cuba in the Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica last night.
After losing their opening game 4-0 to host nation Jamaica on Monday, Bermuda coach Naquita Robinson made two changes to her side with Khyla Brangman coming in for Akeyla Furbert and Nia Christopher starting over Jade Stewart. The team had decided to allow Cuba to take possession and play a counter-attacking game, employing long balls into the final third.
Cuba made things difficult for themselves on numerous occasions in the first half by playing too casually with the ball at the back. Their dwelling on the ball led to Bermuda’s first meaningful opportunity. It came in the tenth minute when Christopher collected a misplayed pass, then played the ball in the area for striker Deshae Darrell.
However, Cuba goalkeeper Katherine Montesino rushed out to parry the ball, which fell into the path of Bermuda forward Eva Frazzoni. But her first-time shot from down the right-hand side was held by Montesino.
Bermuda kept up the pressure and a corner in the thirteenth minute was headed out of the area by Cuban defender Yarisleidy Mena. It came to midfielder Trinae Edwards, whose shot from just outside the area forced another save out of Montesino.
Cuba started to make their possession count and Lillian Perez played a cross from the left side into the box for Maria Perez, who put it high and wide with her volley.
Bermuda had a scare soon after as centre back and captain Marley Christian gifted the ball to Maria Perez with a poorly timed header back to her goalkeeper. However, Perez, who was quick to react, chipped her shot high above Bermuda goalkeeper Micah Pond and the goal as well. Missed sitters became a theme of the game as in the 28th minute, one of Bermuda’s easiest chances fell to Darrell.
Frazzoni latched on to a loose ball and whipped a cross into her. Darrell did well to evade her marker, but with only the goalkeeper left to beat, she showed poor composure and placed her shot wide of the target.
Bermuda were punished for that miss three minutes later when Lillian Perez received a ball just at the edge of the box on the left, dropped her shoulder, cut inside and beat Pond at her near post to give the Cubans a 1-0 lead.
In the 39th minute, Keunna Dill found Darrell, who had used her speed to leave her marker behind. However, she wasted the opportunity, hammering her shot wide.
A minute before half-time Cuba almost let their opponents back into the game.
Montesino, who received the ball from Sucel Maceo, tripped and Darrell pounced on the ball, but her shot rolled across the face of the empty net and behind for a goal kick.
Cuba started the second half brightly and it took only eight minutes after the restart for them to double the lead. Maria Perez capitalised on a scramble for possession in midfield and hit a powerful drive from distance that had Pond soundly beaten.
Bermuda kept trying though, and in the 58th minute, Christopher received a pass from deep and went on a run.
She found Darrell advancing just inside and tucked a beautiful short pass to her. Darrell’s poor shooting ruined the move once more as she drilled her effort high and wide.
In the 62nd minute, Teyah Lindo, who had been on the receiving end of criticism from fans all game for what they perceived as laziness getting forward, received a ball in the middle of the park.
She showed good technique to skip by Mena and took a shot from about 20 yards out, however it went straight to the goalkeeper.
However, in the 89th minute, Cuba should have made it 3-0 when Lillian Perez threaded a pass through to Rachael Pelaez, who went through on goal with just Pond to beat in the Bermuda goal and placed it wide.
Bermuda now find themselves still without a point from two games and in fourth spot behind Jamaica, Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago on six points each.
Robinson’s team will now have to win their remaining two games and hope other results go in their favour to have a chance of finishing in the top three. Bermuda play bottom-place Antigua & Barbuda tomorrow.
That match will be played at 6pm Antigua went down 5-0 to Trinidad in the earlier game yesterday. Trinidad meet Jamaica later in the day.
Cuba: L Perez 31, M Perez 52
Cuba (4-4-2): K Montesino — J Alvarez, Y Mena, Y Fuentes, M Perez — R Pelaez, L Perez, Z Rodriguez (sub: O Arrebato, 90min), S Maceo (sub: L Gonzalez, 46) — Y Lee, Y Ramos (sub: M Mengana, 71). Substitutes not used: L Martinez, D Carbonell, L Moreno.
Bermuda (4-2-3-1): M Pond — K Waldron, K Dill, M Christian, T Fubler — T Edwards, K Brangman (sub: A Furbert, 54) — N Christopher, T Lindo (sub: J Stewart, 64), E Frazzoni — D Darrell. Substitutes not used: E Butterfield, V Davis, S Darrell, C Harvey, D Place, K Nanette.
Referee: S Benitez (El Salvador).