Kyle Lightbourne, the Bermuda coach, has urged his players not to be discouraged after losing 4-1 to Panama, insisting, “We cannot afford to feel sorry for ourselves”.
Bermuda entered their Concacaf Nations League League A, group B, opener bristling with confidence after an impressive showing at the Gold Cup but were ruthlessly punished by their superior opponents for a slew of defensive errors.
Lightbourne’s side will not have long to dwell on their disjointed display as they head to Panama today for their away fixture at the Rommel Fernández Stadium on Sunday.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Lightbourne said. “In the first half, we were off the pace and also conceded goals at the worst times.
“Our intentions were good but we just weren’t right on the night for some reason. It’s a tough moment and we just have to suck it up. It just didn’t come together.”
Bermuda had a strong penalty claim turned down by Honduran referee Raul Zuniga on the half-hour mark, despite Nahki Wells appearing to be shoved in the back, and conceding just seconds later when Gabriel Torres gave Panama the lead.
In the 43rd minute, Bermuda levelled through an own goal by Harold Cummings after Reggie Lambe’s initial effort struck the post, but once again the home side were undone by a lapse in concentration, with Rolando Blackburn tapping home at the back post almost immediately after to make it 2-1.
“We had a possible penalty that wasn’t given, but we can’t switch off,” Lightbourne added. “Twenty seconds later, the ball is in the back of our net.
“We weren’t playing particularly well, but got ourselves back in the game and yet we can’t hold on until half-time. That was disappointing.”
Torres added his second in the 65th minute before Bermuda conceded again in the dying seconds after being punished on the break when goalkeeper Dale Eve went up for a corner.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, Lightbourne said he was encouraged by aspects of his side’s play, particularly the chances they created, and pointed out that they were up against a nation that played in the World Cup in Russia last summer.
“We were playing against quality opposition and yet we created chances in the second half and pushed them back a little bit,” he said.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves and have to pick ourselves up for the game on Sunday.”