Jai Bean finds net as Bermuda show promise in Nations League finale
Haiti 3 Bermuda 1
Bermuda concluded their Concacaf Nations League campaign with defeat against group winners Haiti at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday.
The match was all but over after a devastating opening 45 minutes from the home side, who showed their greater pedigree to race into a 3-0 lead at half-time courtesy of two goals in the space of a minute from Frantzdy Pierrot and Simonsen Jeppe Friborg, with Carnejy Antoine curling home an exquisite third in added time.
To their credit, Kyle Lightbourne’s side refused to lay down after the interval and were rewarded for the perseverance when Jai Bean grabbed what proved to be a consolation with his first international goal with 15 minutes remaining.
Lightbourne made five changes to the starting line-up from the team that lost 2-0 to Guyana at the Flora Duffy Stadium three days earlier with Reece Jones Jr, Knory Scott, Deniche Hill, Chikosi Basden and Keishon Bean coming in for Danté Leverock, Jalen Harvey, Darren Usher, Roger Lee and Nahki Wells, who withdrew from the squad as he contemplate his international future.
Much as in the Guyana defeat, Bermuda struggled to get a foothold in the early stages of the match as Haiti quickly got into their rhythm, spurning their first opportunity in just the fifth minute when Antoine fired wildly over from inside the area.
Handed his first start, Hill picked up from where he left off in his appearance from the bench in the previous match, with the Leicester City Under-21 winger looking dangerous down the left-hand side as he beat his marker at will to win Bermuda a number of early corners.
However, that was as good as it got for the visitors going forward as Haiti quickly re-established their dominance, dictating proceedings with periods of prolonged pressure.
Chances began to be created at regular intervals with Jones finding himself in the right place at the right time to deflect Mondy Prunier’s goalbound effort wide in the seventeenth minute, with the midfielder heading the resulting corner over captain Dale Eve’s crossbar.
The physical presence of Prunier and Pierrot caused Bermuda backline no end of problems, with the latter finally finding the breakthrough in the 25th minute. An incisive counter-attack resulted in Antoine being released into space down the right-hand side as he muscled his way past Daniel Cook before picking out Pierrot, who beat a helpless Eve from close range.
Reeling from that setback, Bermuda found themselves two goals down just a minute later. Again it came down Haiti’s right-hand side as Cook found himself exposed with Friborg picking up possession beyond the full back, with his driven cross-shot finding its way through a crowded area and past Eve.
The wing back came close top adding his second ten minutes later when he got on the end of Bryan Alceus’s pinpoint ball over the top only to head narrowly past the left post.
Cook then desperately cleared a dangerous Danley Jean ball in the area as Bermuda continued to struggle to cope with Haiti's intensity both in and out of possession.
With the half-time whistle looming, Bermuda were punished further when Antoine added a third in spectacular style. Picking up the ball 25 yards from goal, the midfielder had time and space a to curl a right-foot shot beyond the reach of Eve and into the top right corner.
Haiti picked up where they left off after the interval with further chances coming when Jean lifted an effort over the bar seven minutes after the restart before Jones managed to clear the ball off the line to prevent Prunier adding a fourth in the 58th minute.
Eve was called into action in the 67th minute, smartly getting down to his right to tip substitute Christophe Feredler’s low effort brilliantly around the post and Bermuda gave themselves a lifeline with 15 minutes remaining as Zeiko Lewis found an unmarked Bean inside the area and he calmly lifted the ball over substitute goalkeeper Garrison Innocent to reduce the deficit.
There was to be no dramatic comeback as Haiti played out the remainder of the match with the win taking them to 16 points, six clear of Guyana, who drew 0-0 with Montserrat in their final match.
Bermuda ended the campaign in third place, above Montserrat only on goal difference with three of their four points awarded after Montserrat withdrew from the match between the sides last June.
Haiti: Pierrot 25, Friborg 26, Antoine 45+4
Bermuda: J Bean 75
Haiti (3-5-2): J Duverger 6 (sub: G Innocent, 46min 6) – D Alexis 7, A Christian 7, R Ade 8 – S Friborg 7, C Sainte 6 (sub: C Fredler, 46 6), Danley Jean 6, B Alceus 7 (sub: L Pierre, 46 6), C Antoine 8 (sub: D Etienne, 46 7) – M Prunier 8, F Pierrot 8 (sub: Dany Jean, 46 6). Substitutes not used: A Pierre, C Arcus, D Nazon, M Experience.
Bermuda (4-5-1): D Eve 7 – C Basden 6 (sub: N Furbert, 89), R Jones Jr 6, H Twite 7, D Cook 6 – K Bean 6 (sub: S Hall, 60 7), A Simmons 6 (sub: N Paynter, 89), Z Lewis 6, K Scott 6 (sub: L Robinson, 60 7), D Hill 7 (sub: E Russell, 66 6) – J Bean 6. Substitutes not used: J Hill, Q Hunt, D Usher, L Evans. Booked: Simmons.
Referee: M Matamoro (Honduras).
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