Lightbourne: defeat is a learning curve
Kyle Lightbourne described Bermuda’s 5-1 defeat at home to Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League as a “learning curve” but believed they could “take heart” from their performance.
Bermuda kept Mexico at bay until the 25th minute when Uriel Antuna opened the scoring before conceding again just before half-time as José Macías finished smartly from close range.
Macías added his second after the break although Bermuda did pull a goal back through talisman Nahki Wells after a well-worked corner with Zeiko Lewis.
Mexico, ranked twelfth in the world, restored their lead through Hirving Lozano — a $46.5 million signing for Napoli in the summer — who then hit the post from a penalty after a Jaylon Bather’s handball.
Héctor Herrera, the Mexico captain, completed the scoring after receiving posession from a free kick before curling the ball into the top right-hand corner from distance.
“It was always going to be a difficult night for us,” Lightbourne said. “We tried to manage the game in blocks and nearly got to the second block before we conceded a goal.
“Once we conceded the first goal we were looking to keep it tight until half-time and hopefully create an opportunity and nick a goal. It was disappointing for us to let in a goal right before half-time.”
Temporarily down to ten-men with left back Jaylon Harvey off the field receiving treatment, Mexico capitalised on their numerical advantage as Calderon’s knock down from the left was well finished by Macias.
Lightbourne said he was frustrated that Harvey was not allowed back onto the field in time to help the defence but refused to make any excuses and believed Bermuda had ample opportunity to clear the danger.
“We’re disappointed with the goal we gave up but we still had enough players on the pitch to deal with it,” Lightbourne said.
“I’m not going to use that as an excuse; it’s part of the game. We didn’t deal with the first ball and didn’t deal with the second ball and they punished us for it.
“It’s the timing of the goal that really made me feel a little bit more upset about it.”
Although Mexico continued to show their extra quality in the second half, enjoying the superior swathes of possession and creating chances, Lightbourne believes there were positives to take from his side’s display.
“We came out for the second half and started reasonably well but made another mistake and got punished for it,” he added.
“At this level you get punished for your mistakes and that’s a learning curve for our team. I thought we did OK for large spells of the game. We knew they were going to have lots of possession of the ball and we nearly got to that stage where we were going to frustrate them. They scored their goals at the right time.”
Lightbourne added: “We’re playing against one of the top teams in the world. They might not have had all of their top players, but that’s Mexico and that’s the team they put out tonight.
“We can take heart from it and we managed to score another goal, so our run of scoring in games carries on.”
Gerardo Martino, the Mexico coach, praised Bermuda’s “enthusiasm” and “hard work” but believes his side were well deserving of their lopsided win.
“For some players it’s quite tough to come to these type of matches,” Martino said. “In the case of Lozano, he played for Napoli against Juventus and Liverpool recently and today he put in a great performances for 70-75 minutes [before he was substituted]. I really appreciate him.
“In terms of Bermuda, the good and the bad things that they did depended a lot on us. The first ten minutes we were a bit lost before we took over the match and in the end the result was deserved. I really appreciated the hard work and the enthusiasm of the Bermuda players.”
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