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Bermuda pick up huge win in opening Concacaf qualifier

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The Bermuda team in their pre-match huddle (photograph by Colin Thompson)

Bermuda 2 Grenada 1

Bermuda started their Concacaf Under-20 Championship qualifying campaign in the best possible way after beating Grenada in St Kitts & Nevis on Saturday.

Midfielder Riley Robinson popped up with the second-half winner after team-mate Sachiel Ming and Grenada’s Vijay Valcin traded goals in the first half to leave Bermuda coach Cecoy Robinson delighted with the perfect start.

“The result is massive, especially for us with our morale for the boys,” he told The Royal Gazette.

“They've worked really hard for it, so the result is massive for them and we're just going to look to build on it.”

Bermuda on the attack agaist Grenada

While pleased to have come away victorious, Robinson felt his players were nearly made to pay for conceding possession cheaply and committing mental lapses.

“It was a tough one for us today and I generally think we made it hard for ourselves first half,” Robinson added.

“I thought we gave them chances turning over the ball too easily and not retaining possession, but once we made some slight adjustments at half time and then bringing on some of the game changers, it definitely made a difference for us and we were able to come away with the three points.

“In the second half the game changed for us and they resorted to long balls, which actually worked in our favour.

“We have to be a little bit more ruthless, especially in the centre of the park and defensively, but we will get there. Today was the first game, and this is just a positive step forward.”

Bermuda captain Harry Twite was equally delighted with the result.

The Bermuda under-20 squad prepare to leave their hotel before the game against Grenada

“This result is big,” he said. “We know that all three of the teams in our group are strong competitors, so we've put ourselves in a good position with the three points going forward.

“We just have to continue to do what we did, especially in that second half when I thought we were much better. We just have to take that forward into the next two games.”

The King’s Lynn player cited the team’s determination, fitness and resilience in the sweltering conditions as key factors to their hard-fought victory.

“It was tiring and I think we underestimated how hot it was going to be,” he added. “Obviously we’re from an island as well, but the heat really hit us and now playing in it we know what we have to to do to deal with it.

“We know what type of football we have to play and you could see in the second half things opened up.

“Both teams got tired and it was our fitness and determination that eventually took us over the line because we wanted it more.”

Grenada seized early control and had several good looks at goal but were unable to penetrate as Bermuda’s defence and goalkeeper Nathaniel Swan were equal to the task.

After soaking up considerable pressure, Bermuda took the lead against the run of play. Midfielder Aunde Todd exchanged passes with Twite from a free-kick before playing the ball out wide to overlapping right back Brighton Morrison. Morrison’s shot was parried by Grenada custodian Kyle Durham and forward Ming was afforded ample time and space to slam the loose ball home.

However, the Gombey Warriors’ lead lasted only five minutes as Grenada winger Valcin ran on to a through pass, held off his marker and fired past Swan to leave the game wide open at the half.

Bermuda supporters in St Kitts for the game against Grenada

Bermuda finally managed to get firmer grip on the match in the second half after coach Robinson made a series of substitutions and tactical adjustments.

Midfielder Daion Swan-DeSilva afforded the Gombey Warriors more stability and creativity in the middle of the park with his precision passing, while fellow Xahvi Derosa tormented Grenada’s back four with his forceful runs down the left flank.

Both teams created chances in search of the go-ahead goal, with Grenada midfielder Jamie Kabuusu squandering a sitter after getting behind the Bermuda defence while Swan pulled off two superb saves.

Kabuusu’s wastefulness ultimately came back to haunt him and his team as Robinson converted Bermuda’s winner after Grenada goalkeeper Durham spilt Todd’s free kick in the goalmouth and Robinson pounced to clinch the points.

Grenada coach Anthony Modeste said the result was a bitter pill for his team to swallow given the plethora of chances they squandered.

“It’s something we spoke about since we've been together, missed opportunities, and it's a bitter pill to swallow because we had the chances,” he said.

“We had the chances, gave up soft goals and at the end we lost the game, but I thought the players fought well. They tried their best but the conversion of the chances was very poor today, and we ended up at the bitter end of the stick."


Bermuda: Ming 37; Robinson 70

Grenada: Valcin 42


Bermuda (4-1-4-1): N Swan 8 - J Burgess 7 (sub: J Henderson, 78min), H Twite 8, M Mobray 7, B Morrison 6 (sub: N Grant, 46 7)- A Todd 8 (X Deroza, 78) - H Dill 7 (J Roberts, 78), E Joseph 7 (D Swan-DeSilva, 60 7), S Ming 7, R Robinson 7 - A Armstrong 7. Substitutes not used: D Martin, J Madeiros, J Eve, G Burgess. Booked: Burgess, Joseph.

Grenada (4-3-3): K Durham 6 - A Murray 7 (sub: S Toussaint, 81), Delroy Phillip 7 (sub: A Charles, 81), J Penny 7, D Bernard 7 - Z Douglas 7, J Quashie 7, J Kabuusu 7- V Valcin 8 (sub: T Andrew, 65 7), D Smith (sub: C Baptiste, 17 7), C Redhead 7. Substitutes not used: R Nelson, D Peters, Daryl Phiilip, A Modeste, E George, D Juba. Booked: Delroy Phillip, Quashie, Kabuusu.

Referee: S Rozenhout (Suriname).

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Published February 26, 2024 at 7:57 am (Updated February 26, 2024 at 7:57 am)

Bermuda pick up huge win in opening Concacaf qualifier

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