Ten-man under-20s defeated in opener
Bermuda’s hopes of reaching the Concacaf Under-20 Championship this summer hangs in the balance after a 3-2 defeat against Barbados yesterday in their opening first-round qualifying group match.
Bermuda dominated the early exchanges of an evenly fought contest at the Juan Ramón Lubriel Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and took a deserved lead when Luciano Swan converted from the penalty spot.
However, Barbados hit back and grabbed an equaliser from a free kick to leave the teams level at the break. Bermuda were then forced to chase the game after Barbados went ahead after the restart.
Bermuda battled on and were back on even terms when Swan scored a second with a shot from the edge of the box to signal game on.
The island’s youngsters enjoyed a promising spell of possession as they pressed for the winner, but were dealt a setback when Malachi Trott was sent off after receiving a second booking. Things then went from bad to worst for Ray Jones’s team as Barbados capitalised on their numerical advantage by grabbing the winner.
Kyle Lightbourne, the assistant Bermuda coach, said: “I think it was a fairly even game.
“First half, I think we bossed it. We controlled the tempo and took a deserved lead from a penalty. We were creating opportunities, had a lot of possession of the ball and then they scored a free kick that hit the post, came back out and someone tapped it in to make it an even game.
“They came out second half and upped their game, put us under a little bit of pressure and we ended up going 2-1 down.
“We got back in it and scored a deserved goal to make it 2-2 and it only looked like one team could go on and win it and that would be us. However, Malachi Trott got a second yellow card, which I don’t think he deserved.”
Lightbourne also felt that an opponent should have been shown a straight red card for a harsh tackle on Bermuda’s Rayquon Woodley-Smith, who had to be replaced.
“Rayquon was tackled and had to be taken off from that and their player should have had a straight red card for it,” Lightbourne added. “They ended up taking their player off because they knew he would have got another yellow card for the way the tackles were flying in.”
“We would have taken a draw after our man getting sent off but it wasn’t to be.”
Bermuda take on Cayman Island in their second group D match tomorrow. The winner of group D will advance along with the winners of the remaining three first-round qualifying groups to the second-round group stage.
The top three nations from each of the four groups during the second-round group stage will advance to the Concacaf Under-20 Championship, which will take place from June 20 to July 5 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
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