Bermuda’s Gold Cup hopes over after disappointing Guyana defeat
Bermuda 0 Guyana 2
Bermuda coach Kyle Lightbourne made no excuse for his team’s lacklustre display in defeat to Guyana at Flora Duffy Stadium on Saturday that ended their hopes of Gold Cup qualification.
Lightbourne’s charges struggled throughout and were simply outclassed by their tactically and technically superior opponents, who prevailed on second-half goals from midfielder Liam Gordon and defender Jeremy Garrett in the space of five minutes, that put paid to the hosts’ bid of qualifying for a second Gold Cup.
“I thought it was a poor game from us,” Lightbourne lamented. “We did’t really play the way we would have liked to. For whatever reason, it just didn’t happen.
“I was disappointed with the way we played first half and the way we came out second half, we started a little brighter but we let in two very sloppy goals.
“It was not a disgraceful performance, but it was a performance that we could have done better in possession of the ball. We didn’t use the ball as good as we can.”
The only bright spot for Bermuda were the performances of some of the younger players Lightbourne drafted into the squad, among them Harry Twite, Jai Bean, Ahria Simmons and Sincere Hall who were making their senior international debuts.
“When we brought on a lot of the youngsters they looked to play,” he added. “They looked bright and sharp and they didn’t give up.
“I think the guys that had debuts did themselves proud, especially Harry Twite. I thought he did really well for an international debut.
“It was difficult for Ahria and Jai but they showed fight, character and determination and when Deniche and Sincere came on, I thought they livened it up for us.
“The result is the most disappointing thing and the performance first half, but the last 15 minutes of the game I was a lot more pleased than the rest of it.“
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Guyana dominated throughout and could have easily come away victorious by a wider margin had it not been for the string of saves custodian Dale Eve pulled off, particularly during the opening half.
The visitors stamped their authority on proceedings from the opening whistle and pinned Bermuda in their own half as they piled on the pressure in search of a breakthrough.
Defenders Jalen Jones and Bayli Spencer-Adams both missed the target with free headers while Bermuda defender Danté Leverock headed a dangerous free-kick off the line.
After weathering the storm, the home side began to get a slight foothold in the match, with Guyana goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle, who was virtually a spectator for the most part, coming off his line to palm away midfielder Daren Usher’s cross-shot from the right side.
Despite Bermuda showing glimpses of life, Guyana were still in control with Eve positioning himself well to twice deny forward Emery Welshman, while Spencer-Adams went close when his header from a corner struck the bar.
The towering Hanley Town goalkeeper was again called into action to save Welshman’s shot from close range with his legs before pulling off a reflex save at his near post to keep out forward Omari Glasgow’s blast from the right side of the box to keep the teams deadlocked at the break.
Guyana picked up where they left off with Bermuda defender Jalen Harvey’s last-ditch tackle denying midfielder Leo Lovell a free look at goal inside the area, before debutant Simmons brought the home crowd to their feet when his 30-yard thunderbolt sailed just wide.
Guyana finally broke through when defender Jonathan Grant’s cross was headed on by Welshman in the area for the unmarked Gordon to smash in at the back post with Bermuda nearly making an immediate response when captain Nahki Wells had the ball cleared off his boot in the box before he could pull the trigger.
The game was then put beyond Bermuda’s reach when Garrett controlled Grant’s cross in the box before rifling past Eve to cushion Guyana’s lead.
Bermuda enjoyed a good spell in the closing minutes with Leicester City’s Hill and Hull City’s Hall providing a bright spark with their movement and pace in the attacking third after coming off the bench.
However, it proved to be case of too little, too late as a well-organised Guyana held on to secure the points and keep their Gold Cup qualifying hopes alive.
“Realistically, we don’t expect to win the group because we think Haiti will run away with it,” Jamaal Shabazz, the Guyana coach, said.
“We’re really realistically looking for one of the preliminary spots, and that’s looking good for us now. We are happy for that. I thought we showed good confidence to put the ball down and play. We didn’t just play kick ball.
“Even at times when Bermuda really piled on the pressure, I am proud of how the guys kept the ball and kept their shape and discipline.”
Bermuda will now close out the group stage against leaders Haiti at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic on Tuesday.
Guyana: L Gordon, 53; J Garrett, 58
Bermuda (3-5-2): D Eve – J Harvey, D Leverock (sub: R Jones Jr, 60min), H Twite – D Cook, D Usher (sub: D Hill, 60), R Lee, Z Lewis (sub: L Robinson, 77), A Simmons (sub: K Bean, 65)- J Bean (sub: S Hall, 77), N Wells. Substitutes not used: J Hill, Q Hunt, L Evans, E Russell, C Basden, K Scott, N Paynter.
Guyana: (3-5-2): K McKenzie – Lyle – B Spencer- Adams, J Jones, J Garrett – J Grant (sub: S Cox, 79), N Moriah-Welsh (sub: T Milford, 79), L Gordon, E Bonds, L Lovell (sub: C Kellman, 90+3) – O Glasgow, E Welshman (sub: D Wilson, 75). Booked: Moriah-Welsh. Substitutes not used: J Narine, A Clarke, D Kadell, P Shultz, M Wilson, T Bobb, C Nelson.
Referee: F Hernandez (Mexico).
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