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That’s gr8, Bermuda: Nahki Wells leads from front

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Bermuda 8 Barbados 1

Nahki Wells, centre, celebrates with Milan Butterfield and Justin Donawa after one of his three goals last night (Photograph by David Leah Cairns/Concacaf)

Bermuda thrashed Barbados in a lopsided Concacaf Gold Cup preliminary round match at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale last night.

Zeiko Lewis in engaging mood after scoring for Bermuda last night (Photograph by David Leah Cairns/Concacaf)

Nahki Wells marked his return as national team captain by netting a hat-trick to lead the charge from the front.

Reggie Lambe, Danté Leverock, substitute Kane Crichlow, Zeiko Lewis and a Krystian Pearce own goal accounted for Bermuda’s remaining tallies.

Barbados replied through captain Hadan Holligan.

Kick-off was delayed an hour because of lightning in the area.

When play finally got under way, Wells made the breakthrough with the fastest goal in tournament history at 17 seconds to set the tone for the rest of the match.

Straight off the training ground, the kick-off was played ahead with Bermuda’s moving forward together at pace before the Barbadians could gather themselves.

The Bermuda captain timed his run in the box to perfection to tap in Lewis’s low cross at the far post.

The goal was initially ruled offside but the decision was later reversed by VAR, the first of two occasions Bermuda would benefit on their debut with the technology.

Wells then doubled Bermuda’s advantage and his personal tally in the fourteenth minute when he flicked Lewis’s low shot with his back to goal standing inside the six-yard box.

The goal was initially given to Lewis before it was corrected sometime after the final whistle.

The Bristol City striker should have completed his hat-trick after Barbados conceded possession deep in their own half. But with only the goalkeeper Liam Brathwaite to beat, Wells blasted over from 12 yards.

Wells threatened again when he forcefully drove into the box. However, he lost control just as he shaped up to shoot and had the ball cleared away.

The 31-year-old went from scorer to provider when he picked out Lambe, who controlled the ball with his chest before rifling past Brathwaite to virtually end the game as a contest in the 29th minute.

Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, was finally called into action to deny Barbados striker Hallam Hope with his outstretched right boot.

Leverock marked his return to the international scene, having missed the island’s World Cup qualifiers against Surinam and the Cayman Islands, by getting in on the scoring act after powerfully heading in Lewis’s free kick at the back post.

Barbados finally got on the board in first-half stoppage time when Holligan ran on to a through-ball played in the box and fired through a defender’s leg and past Eve from an angle.

However, their fightback was stopped dead in its tracks on the hour mark after defender Pearce deflected Lewis’s shot, which was travelling narrowly wide, into his own net.

Lewis and substitute Crichlow then scored two brilliantly taken goals in the space of a minute shortly after, as a rampant Bermuda continued to boss proceedings.

Watford forward Crichlow kept his composure to shake off a defender in the box before slotting home, while Lewis scored with a low left-footed shot into the far post.

Wells and Lambe both tested Brathwaite as Bermuda went in search of more goals while Barbados struck the woodwork during a rare raid.

Wells completed his hat-trick shortly before the final whistle from the penalty spot after being tripped up in the box.

His first effort was saved. However, the kick was ordered retaken after Brathwaite was discovered by VAR to have moved off his line early.

Bermuda will now face Haiti in the second round on Tuesday for the right to progress to the Gold Cup proper.

Haiti thrashed St Vincent & the Grenadines 6-1 earlier in the day.

Bermuda made their debut at the 2019 Gold Cup where they bowed out at the group stage after suffering 2-1 defeats by Costa Rica and Haiti before a 2-0 win over Nicaragua capped an outstanding campaign.


Bermuda: Wells 1, 14, 87 (pen)

Lambe 29, Leverock 39

Pearce og 60, Crichlow 66

Lewis 67

Barbados: Holligan 45+1


Bermuda (4-5-1 ): D Eve — E Blankendal (sub: J Smith, 64min), C Minors, J Bather, D Leverock (sub: R Jones, 73) — M Butterfield, R Lambe (sub: R Lee, 59), W Clemons (sub: K Crichlow, 59), Z Lewis (sub: L Robinson, 73), J Donawa — N Wells. Substitutes not used: D Bell, Q Hunt, L Simmons, K Bean, K Hall, D Usher. Booked: Blankendal, Clemons.

Barbados (4-4-2): L Brathwaite — Andre Applewhaite, M Williams, K Pearce (sub: A Hill, 74), J Harris (sub: A Greaves, 63) — H Holligan, H Hope, O Leacock (sub: R Trotman, 42), N Blackman — R Smith (sub: Ackeel Applewhaite, 42), E Saimovici. Substitutes not used: K Primus, N Browne, C Hinkson, N Reid, D Pascal, K Atkins, C Jay, R Jules. Booked: Leacock, Williams, Smith.

Referee: D Fischer (Canada).

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Published July 03, 2021 at 3:37 pm (Updated July 05, 2021 at 8:02 am)

That’s gr8, Bermuda: Nahki Wells leads from front

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