Hat-trick hero Nia Christopher fires Bermuda to resounding win
Bermuda 6 Cayman Islands 0
Bermuda had the best possible response to their opening group C loss to Jamaica last week by scoring three goals in each half to comfortably defeat Cayman Islands in their Concacaf World Cup qualifier at the IMG Academy Stadium in Bradenton, Florida, last night.
Striker Nia Christopher led the scoring with a hat-trick after LeiLanni Nesbeth broke the deadlock with a well-taken goal in the seventh minute.
Nesbeth then completed the rout three minutes into stoppage time for her second goal on the night. Keunna Dill scored the remaining Bermuda goal midway through the second half. Bermuda made five changes to the team which lost 4-0 to group favourites Jamaica last Thursday. They quickly grew in confidence after Nesbeth found the net from a 30-yard free kick after a foul on midfielder Emily Cabral.
Bermuda doubled their lead midway through the second half when Christopher opened her account, Nesbeth taking a pass from defender Jenna Rempel before putting Christopher clear inside the box to slide the ball past goalkeeper Erica Burke.
Bermuda almost had a third four minutes later when a ball over the halfway line by Rempel sent Christopher on a run towards goal before she cut in on her left and lifted her shot over the bar from inside the box.
The goals did keep coming with Bermuda scoring their third in the 39th minute when Christopher netted her second of the night. This time Koa Goodchild’s pass sent Rempel through down the right flank before her low cross into the box was side-footed first time to the goalkeeper’s right.
Burke injured her shoulder as she landed heavily resulting in a delay that lasted a few minutes while she received treatment before being replaced by Sophie Roberts just before the half ended.
Cayman Islands made two more substitutions at the start of the second half, but it was Bermuda who kept scoring, with Christopher completing her hat-trick in the 54th minute after another good move.
A long ball forward by captain Eva Frazzoni sent Christopher away down the right side before she beat the advancing Roberts to the ball before carrying on to score as defender Neesah Godet closed in.
After that it was just a matter of how many Bermuda would score, as they continued to dominate, with goalkeeper Zakhari Turner having a quiet night at the other end.
Dill made it 5-0 in the 66th minute with a good strike from the edge of the box after a pass by Christopher set her up. Nesbeth closed out the scoring in stoppage time when she followed up on a miskick by substitute Katelyn Medeiros to score from the 18-yard line after blocking an attempted clearance by a defender.
Coach Naquita Robinson couldn’t have asked for a better response to the Jamaica defeat.
“I sat on a cooler on the side and just enjoyed watching these young ladies play football, which is where we need to be,” she said afterwards.
“Now we go to Dominican Republic next and on paper everyone has them as the second best team in the group. But we go into that game full of confidence.
“If we put the performance against Jamaica and tonight’s performance together, I think we’ll have another great showing against the Dominican Republic.”
Bermuda: Nesbeth 7, 90+3, Christopher 25, 39, 54, Dill 66
Bermuda: Z Turner, J Rempel, M Christian, V Davis, D Watson, E Cabral (sub: K Brangman 76min), E Frazzoni (sub: T Edwards 76), L Nesbeth, K Goodchild (sub: J Ratteray-Smith 67), N Christopher (sub: K Medeiros 89), K Dill (sub: S Lowe 75). Substitutes not used: M Pond, T Trott, K Burch, D Ebbin, J Masters, A Nolan.
Cayman Islands: E Burke (sub: S Roberts 46), L Scott (sub: C Green 74), N Godet, D Kelly, S Windsor, D Gourzong, K Moriah, S Monteith, M Kenhoe, S Lucas, N Coe-Moore (sub: C Hicks 56). Substitutes not used: K Lemay, A Nelson, A Deslandes, K Williams, H Medina, E Villalobos, H Scott.
Referee: C Hinds (Trinidad & Tobago)