Bermuda’s impressive run at the Concacaf Under-15 Championships came to a grinding halt after losing 2-1 against Puerto Rico in an evenly fought semi-final at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida yesterday.
For the second straight match Aaron Lugo’s team squandered a lead as their opponents hit back with two unanswered goals, with their winner coming via a late penalty that Bermuda conceded after committing a foul in their own box.
“It was a great match,” coach Lugo said. “We saw a lot of the ball and had a lot of possession but unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalise on it.”
Bermuda reached the last four after topping Group H with two wins against Antigua & Barbuda (3-0) and Aruba (4-2) and a draw against St Vincent & the Grenadines (2-2).
Bermuda led 1-0 at half-time courtesy of a goal from Remy Coddington, who finished as the island’s top scorer at the tournament with three goals.
However, the Puerto Ricans rallied after the break, first levelling the scores, before sneaking ahead with what proved to the winner from the penalty spot.
“This has been a wonderful tournament,” Lugo added. “The boys did a fantastic job and we appreciate everyone’s hard efforts.”
Meanwhile, Bermuda’s girls team were due to face unbeaten hosts Jamaica in their final match at the Caribbean Football Union Under-14 Challenge at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence yesterday.
There was no result available at the time of press.
Bermuda suffered an emphatic 5-1 defeat against Dominican Republic in their opening match of the tournament but bounced back with a hard-fought 4-3 triumph over Martinique.