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Lightbourne: We’re still fighting

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Photograph by ConcacafRearguard action: Bermuda defender Ahria Simons, left, and Jonathan Aguilar, of El Salvador, vie for the ball at the Estadio Nacional

Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, remained upbeat about his team’s chances of progressing to the next round of the Concacaf Under-20 Championship despite last night’s 3-1 defeat against group C leaders El Salvador at the Estadio Nacional.

El Salvador jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead before Bermuda mounted a comeback which ultimately fell short to leave their chances of advancing in the tournament hanging in the balance.

“I thought the guys worked very hard tonight and stuck to the game plan,” Lightbourne said.

“We came up short and we know that. But we are still in the competition and we are still fighting for that second place.”

Lightbourne’s team put up plenty of resistance against their heavily favoured opponents only to be undermined by some wasteful chances and poor defending at crucial stages.

“We missed our chance to go 1-1 and then we were trying to make a substitution and made bad decisions on the ball at that time and they punished us for it and make it 2-0,” Lightbourne added.

“Up until then things were going pretty good even though I was disappointed with the first goal we let in.”

PHC Zebras forward Mazhye Burchall scored a spectacular volley from a Osagi Bascome free kick with fifteen minutes remaining to give Bermuda hope. But by then the damage had already been done.

“We worked hard today and I knew it was going to be a tough game for us and that we had to be at our best,” Lightbourne said.

“This is the first time that we have been at this level and I think we are growing and people will look at us and see that we are not a pushover.

“We know we have to be at our best to beat a team like El Salvador and credit to them. But I know they have come off knowing that they have been in a match and that’s what I asked from my guys today. They put in a good shift and Knory Scott was outstanding at times while Mazhye also did well.”

Bermuda went 1-0 down in the 21st minute with a goal from Roberto Dominguez, who prodded the ball past Detre Bell after Josue Santos dummied a cross from Marvin Marquez.

Marquez then set up Fernando Castillo to make it 2-0 on 65 minutes before Josue Rivera converted Castillo’s cross two minutes later.

Costa Rica faced Trinidad and Tobago in the other group C game late last night.

El Salvador are assured of qualification with six points from their two matches.