Bermuda’s Under-17 World Cup dreams dashed
Honduras 6 Bermuda 0
Bermuda’s Under-17 football squad had their World Cup dreams dashed in brutal fashion by Honduras in the round of 16 at the Concacaf Championships in Guatemala.
A disastrous six-minute spell midway through the first half left the match out of reach as Honduras raced into a three-goal lead through Russell Cruz, Edwin Munguía and Roberto Osorto and Bermuda going down to ten men after captain Malachi Henry was dismissed.
Nixon Cruz added a fourth and despite a valiant Bermuda effort after the break, Honduras scored twice more through Jordan Garcia and Nayrobi Vargas to seal their progress to the quarter-finals.
While coach Cecoy Robinson was disappointed with some aspects of his side’s performance, he was proud of his side’s efforts in making it this far.
“While it’s not what we wanted, we have their backs and all of them should hold their heads high,” Robinson said.
“We started the game brightly and on the front foot but, in football, the team that makes the most mistakes is normally the one who loses.
“Mistakes cost you and you can only learn from them in order to grow.”
Heading into the match, Bermuda knew just two victories would result in them making history by becoming the first football team of any age group from the island to qualify for a World Cup.
For the opening 15 minutes, it looked as though Robinson’s side were capable of taking another step closer towards that ambition as they enjoyed the greater share of possession against an opposition who boast a population of 10.28 million.
But the tide turned dramatically in the 21st minute as Honduras broke the deadlock when a teasing inswinging free kick from the right by Osorto found Russell Cruz, who escaped his marker to glance a header past goalkeeper Keyan Webb.
Just three minutes later, Honduras doubled their advantage as a result of Webb’s mistake. A routine pass from the left was played to Munguía on the edge of the area and his low shot squirmed under the goalkeeper and rolled into the net.
Things went from bad to worse just moments later when Henry was caught in possession on the edge of his own area by Nixon Cruz, before pulling his opponent down who was clean through on goal.
Jamaican referee Christopher Mason was left with little choice but to show the Bermuda captain a straight red card for being the last man and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
To compound matters further, Osorto scored the resulting free kick, curling a low right-footed effort around the wall and past the reach of Webb into the bottom-right corner.
Bermuda were again punished for another defensive lapse in concentration as Honduras added a fourth in the 37th minute. Seizing on Jannis Roberts’s poor back pass, Nixon Cruz drove into the area before beating Webb with a left-footed effort.
With five minutes of the half remaining, the same player went close to adding a fifth as his rasping strike from the edge of the area whistled narrowly over Webb’s bar.
Bermuda goalkeeper Webb was visibly upset as the players left the field at half-time, but with the vocal backing of a pocket of travelling Bermuda fans in the stands, Robinson’s men re-emerged from the dressing room with the hope of salvaging some pride.
Their opponents, however, were full of confidence and scored a fifth in the 54th minute.
As they had throughout the first half, Jose Valladares’s side took advantage of another set piece with Garcia finding space inside the area to power a header past Webb.
Bermuda were left to rue more defensive frailties in the 67th minute as Honduras again displayed their set-piece prowess.
Failing to deal with another corner from the right-hand side, the ball was worked back into the area, where substitute Nayrobi Vargas was able to beat Webb with a header, despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to the ball.
To their credit, Robinson’s side continued to push forward in search of a consolation goal in the closing stages, but it was not to be as referee Mason signalled the end of Bermuda’s World Cup qualification journey.
R Cruz 21, E Munguía 24, R Osorto 27, N Cruz 37, J Garcia 54, N Vargas 67.
Honduras (4-4-2): O Meja -D Cacho, J Garcia, B Vaquedano, D Herrera - N Cruz (sub: S Estrada 46), J Bueso (sub: J Navas 33min), R Osorto, E Munguia (sub: M Morales 81) - B Saenz (sub: A Maldonado 70), R Cruz. Substitutes not used: O Macias, S Boquin, J Calix, E Vallecillo. Booked: Bueso, Munguia, Saenz.
Bermuda (4-3-3): K Webb (sub: N Swan 72) - E Joseph, L Fulton, M Henry, J Burgess - N Grant (sub: D Stewart 35; Eve 61), D Swan-Desilva (sub: Q Raynor 72), J Roberts - M Belboda, H Dill, X DeRoza (sub: J Robinson 61). Substitutes not used: G Burgess, K Bean, P Mitchell-Robinson. Booked: Fulton, J Burgess, H Dill. Sent off: Henry.
Referee: C Mason (Jamaica).
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