Bermuda miss out on Gold Cup play-offs after defeat in decider
Dominican Republic 2 Bermuda 0
Head coach Naquita Robinson was left bitterly disappointed after Bermuda missed out on a spot in the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup play-offs after suffering defeat in their final match in League B group C last night.
Heading into the crunch clash, Bermuda's destiny was in their own hands as they topped the group by a point ahead of the home side, needing just a draw to progress.
However, a first-half opener from Alyssa Oviedo was added to by a late second-half strike from Mia Asenjo as the Dominican Republic leapfrogged the Lady Gombey Warriors to move on at the expense of Robinson’s side.
“Obviously, we are very disappointed,” said Robinson, who bemoaned her side’s tentative start to the match.
“Dominican Republic had obviously done their homework and managed to keep us at bay.
“We took a while to get going, and it cost us. We just struggled to make that penetrating pass and get in behind them enough.
“However, the girls worked hard and now we have to regroup and prepare for what is next.”
It was the home side who started on the front foot and created the first opportunity after just three minutes as Oviedo found herself in an abundance of space on the edge of the area, but she could only drag her right-footed effort wide of the left post.
Bermuda goalkeeper Zakhari Turner was called into action for the first time five minutes later, when she held on well to Lucia Marte’s effort from the edge of the box.
However, there was nothing she could do in the seventeenth minute when Dominican Republic made the crucial breakthrough. Receiving a pass outside the area, Oviedo knocked the ball past Zemira Webb with her first touch before firing low past Turner and into the bottom corner.
Bermuda were under pressure but managed to create a rare first-half chance when debutant Kenni Thompson did well to evade a challenge in midfield while carrying the ball forward, but she failed to capitalise on the space and dragged her effort harmlessly wide of Odaliana Gomez’s goal.
Just a minute later Dominican Republic came close to extending their lead when Kathrynn González came agonisingly close to converting Asenjo’s inswinging cross from the left, volleying wide as she stretched at the back post.
With Bermuda struggling to get any sort of foothold or prolonged periods of possession in the game, Dominican Republic continued to carve out chances.
Turner again had to be alert to parry away Gonzalez’s goalbound inswinging free kick from the left on the half-hour mark, with the midfielder also volleying narrowly wide.
The Bermuda goalkeeper had to be at her very best with half-time looming to ensure her side did not fall further behind before the interval. Seizing on a defensive lapse in concentration, Marte fired an effort at goal which looked destined to find the top left corner only for Turner to reach out a strong right hand and brilliantly tip the ball over the bar.
Dominican Republic picked up where they left off immediately after the restart with Asenjo firing straight at Turner after again getting away from Webb.
At the other end, Ashley Tutas had one of very few efforts at goal for Bermuda, lashing over from the left side of the box before Turner again denied González after she had been played into the area by Asenjo.
The Bermuda goalkeeper was the island’s best player on the night and kept her side in the game as she was called upon to again produce another fine save from Asenjo’s driven effort in the 72nd minute.
With five minutes remaining, Bermuda had a huge let-off as Marte somehow fired a first-time effort wide from just five yards out after a scramble inside the area.
The reprieve did not last long as Turner’s brave resistance was again broken just two minutes later. Receiving the ball in space, Marte had time to pick out Asenjo inside the area with the forward making no mistake this time, lashing a right-footed effort past Bermuda’s goalkeeper.
The final whistle sparked wild celebrations from the Dominican Republic players and staff, while Bermuda’s players left the field dejected after missing out on the chance to move a step closer to reaching the inaugural Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup.
Instead it is Dominican Republic who will advance to the play-off stage, where they will face either Puerto Rico, Guatemala or Haiti, the runners-up from the three groups in League A.
Dominican Republic: Oviedo 17, Asenjo 87
Dominican Republic (4-3-3): O Gomez – G Dionicio (sub: A Pacheco, 62min), G Cuevas, B Reed, N Colon – J Vallecillo, W Peralta, L Marte (sub: Y Brito, 89) – A Oviedo (sub: V Kara, 62), M Asenjio, K Gonzalez (sub: J Jackson, 72). Substitutes not used: P Pena, S Tapia, C Alcantara, D Cabrera, C Acosta, M Torreira.
Bermuda (4-3-3): Z Turner – K Goodchild, Z Webb, V Davis, K Thompson – J Masters (sub: D Watson, 68), E Frazonni, T Edwards, – A Nolan (sub: S Lowe-Darrell, 68), A Tutas, N Christopher. Substitutes not used: M Pond, D Brown, M Christian, T Fubler, S Fisher, J Ratteray-Smith, J Simmons, K Bean. Booked: Edwards, Nolan.
Referee: M-S Beaudoin (Canada)