Haiti defeat makes life simple for Bermuda
Bermuda’s hopes of advancing to the next stage of the Under-20 World Cup qualifiers hang in the balance after the island crashed to their first defeat against hosts Haiti at the Caribbean Under-20 Championship last night.
Haiti won 3-0 thanks to goals from Robert Louima, Stevenson Gullaume and Miche Chery, all but clinching the group in the process and securing passage through to the next phase of the competition.
In yesterday’s other game Cayman Islands beat Anguilla 4-1, leaving Anguilla rooted to the bottom of group three.
Bermuda, who made five changes to the side from the one that beat Cayman Islands 3-0 in their group opener, were simply out of their depth against a dominant Haitian side that made the most of their chances.
“They dominated the game from start to finish and gave us a lesson in how to keep the ball,” Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, said.
“I envisioned the game going with them having most of the possession and we knew Haiti was going to be very tough.”
Bermuda’s best chance fell to Nathan Rego, a second-half substitute, who failed to capitalise after being played through by Jahtino Martin-Richardson, who was among the new faces drafted into the team.
Tehvan Tyrell had a half chance for Bermuda in the first half while Jaz Ratteray-Smith, who was also a second-half substitute, caused some anxiety in the Haitian defence during the dying stages of the match.
“We are disappointed with the result,” Lightbourne said. “But we showed a lot of character and a lot of fight and determination.
“I was pleased with the individual performances and as a team we are still trying to grow.”
The result leaves Bermuda needing to beat Anguilla by four clear goals in their final group three fixture to stand any chance of advancing in the competition, which is the first phase of qualifying for next year’s Under-20 World Cup in Korea.
The three best runners up from the four groups will advance to the next round, and with St Lucia certain of a place after finishing with seven points, Bermuda must win and better Dominican Republic’s plus-three goal difference.
“We know the importance of making it to the next round and I know we can do a lot better in our next game on Sunday,” Lightbourne said.
“Our goal difference is back to zero and we need to win our next game by four goals to qualify for the next round.”
Bermuda, who started with the same 4-5-1 formation which they deployed against the Cayman Islands, were forced to chase the game after Louima opened Haiti’s account in the 23rd minute with a well taken goal.
The Bermuda defence switched off as they appealed for offside and Louima took full advantage, scoring from a close range header that was tipped onto the post by Detre Bell, the Bermuda goalkeeper, before going over the line.
Bermuda fell further behind ten minutes later through a goalkeeping blunder by Bell who spilt a rebound into the path of Gullaume who made no mistake from close range to give the hosts a commanding 2-0 advantage at the half.
After being held at bay by a more organised Bermuda side in the second half, Chery finally put the match further beyond the visitors reach in the 80th minute when he finished off a brilliant counter attack.
Bermuda will face winless Anguilla tomorrow at 6pm Bermuda time.