Bermuda 0 Guyana 3
Bermuda face a tough task to qualify for the Central American and Caribbean Games next year after falling to three second-half goals from Guyana in the qualifiers in Kingston yesterday.
Their defeat, coupled with Jamaica scoring both of their goals in the last ten minutes of their 2-0 win over Puerto Rico, means that Bermuda will probably have to beat the host nation by three clear goals to finish in the top two and qualify for the tournament in Barranquilla, Colombia next year.
Guyana leapfrogged Bermuda to go into second place in the group, with the top two qualifying for Barranquilla. Jamaica lead on ten points, with a plus-11 goal difference, Guyana are second on eight, with Bermuda third on seven points, with a plus-five goal difference.
Bermuda can still overtake Guyana, but only in the unlikely event of Guyana losing to Guatemala tomorrow. Guatemala sit fifth in the six-team table, with their only victory being a 1-0 win over Panama, who have lost all their games. Bermuda beat Guatemala 4-0 on Monday.
Guyana’s expertise from penalty corners was the difference. Gabriella Xavier and Marzana Fiedtkou scored from set pieces in the space of three minutes in the third quarter and Kerensa Fernandes added a third goal early in the fourth quarter that Bermuda, try as they might, could not rebound from.
While Bermuda created the better opportunities in the first half, they could not make the most of a numerical advantage when Fiedtkou was given a green card, which carries a two-minute penalty, in the nineteenth minute, and Maria Atkinson Munroe was handed a five-minute yellow card a minute later.
An experienced Guyana side featured eight players from the squad who beat Bermuda 1-0 at the CAC Games in Veracruz, Mexico three years ago, and seven players aged 27 and over. By contrast, Bermuda only had five players from that defeat in 2014 and fielded 11 players aged 23 and under, including five teenagers.
It was an entertaining clash from the outset, with Fernandes outstanding for Guyana in the early stages, but Bermuda were certainly a match for them. LaKae Tavares, the captain, set the tone by not shying away from any physical challenges as well as proving a strong link between defence and attack.
Fiedtkou was given a green card after a tussle with Tavares and Atkinson Munroe followed into the sin-bin shortly afterwards after illegally impeding Bermuda forward Alex Francis.
The suspensions led to Bermuda’s best spell of the game, but they could not take full advantage.
Selina Whitter played the ball into Chrysda Smith, who earned a penalty corner and Keishae Robinson’s shot from the set-piece was kick-saved by Briawna Gordon, the Guyana goalkeeper.
Guyana were always dangerous on the break, though, and Angela Dunstan, in the Bermuda goal, had to come off her line to clear from Shebeki Baptiste’s ball into the shooting circle.
Renee Greenslade had Bermuda’s best chance with a superb run into the circle, but her shot was well saved.
Guyana began to take control early in the second half with a succession of penalty corners. Fernandes had two decent, intricate efforts and a run from Aliyah Gordon forced a third one, which proved to be a charm for Bermuda’s opponents.
Tavares went too early as she charged from the line on the first attempt, leaving Bermuda short of runners as she had to retreat to halfway. From there, Guyana switched their strategy. After twice going right to Fernandes, they switched the ball left and Xavier made no mistake to give them the lead.
Maya Palacio then went down heavily, requiring attention from the medical staff, but no card came and Guyana soon went two in front. Another superb penalty corner was converted by Fiedtkou, but only after the umpires initially appeared to have ruled it out for the ball not clearing the circle on the insert.
As heavy rain started to fall, Bermuda had a couple of penalty corners of their own, but were not as clinical as Guyana and the outstanding Fernandes expertly sent a powerful reverse-stick shot high past Dunstan and into the net for 3-0.
Bermuda still plugged away, with Whitter now deployed as a kicking back after they pulled Dunstan from the goal, but the damage was done.
The Jamaica-Bermuda game is the final match tomorrow, starting at 1pm Bermuda time. Guyana-Guatemala starts at 9am, with Puerto Rico, who are fourth with five points, playing Panama at 11am.
Xavier 38, Fiedtkou 41, K Fernandes 46
Bermuda: A Dunstan — M Palacio, S Whitter, T Mullan, M Clarke, K White, A Thomas, L Tavares, K Robinson, R Greenslade, C Smith, A Francis. Substitutes: I Smith, T Booth, K White, J Patterson. Green card: Patterson. Yellow card: Greenslade.
Guyana: B Gordon — G Xavier, L Chung, M Fiedtkou, K Fernandes, T Woodroffe, M Fernandes, M Atkinson Munroe, S Baptiste, U Sutherland, A De Groot. Substitutes: M Culpepper, N Eastman, B Kaladeen, A Gordon, T Glenn. Green card: Fiedtkou, Yellow card: Atkinson Munroe.
Umpires: D Borrayo (Guatemala), S Adams (Jamaica).