Guyana takes command of Group ‘A’
– to face Suriname today
By Timothy Jaikarran
Friday night was packed with nonstop action as football fanatics were treated to two enticing matches in the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championships at the Leonora Stadium, WCD.
The matchups saw Suriname trample Antigua and Barbuda 5-nil before Guyana claimed a 2–nil victory over the rampant St Lucia side.
Guyana now joins St Lucia atop the points’ standings of Group ‘A’ with 9 points, but the Lady Jags have a superior goal difference of six against St Lucia’s two.
Riveting action returns to the Leonora Stadium today with Guyana battling Suriname from 16:00 hrs while third placed Bermuda take on Antigua and Barbuda from 18:30 hrs.
The crowd screamed and cheered when the Lady Jags took to the field looking calm and poised. At the sound of the whistle, Guyana took firm control of possession, and their defending was resolute, as they denied St Lucia’s in-form captain, Krysan St Louis, any meaningful part in the game.
Before Friday’s showdown, St Louis already had a 5-goal tally, but being swarmed by the Guyanese contingent, St Louis was locked out of the match; and the pressure overflowed to the other members of the St Lucia team, who eventually let their guard down, allowing Tiandi Smith to draw first blood for Guyana when she converted a pass from the midfield in the 19th minute.
St Lucia attempted to push Guyana back on the defense in search of an equaliser, but the Lady Jags went into overdrive and reversed roles, almost piercing the St Lucian defense seven times in the first half.
In the second half of play, St Lucia searched desperately for a goal, but goalkeeper Anessa O’brien had figuratively locked the door and thrown away the key as she maintained her flawless streak in the tournament. Her feline agility and rock solid defense proved quite frustrating for the St Lucia side.
Jaguars’ midfield play was flawless, thanks to the contributions of Serena McDonald, and Nailah Rowe who eventually was able, in the 73rd minute, to pierce the St Lucia defense and make it a two-possession game.
Frustratingly, no amount of substitution could work for St Lucia, thus the former table-toppers were eventually forced to throw in the towel and basically await the regulation time whistle.
In the other matchup, Suriname registered their first win of the tournament, while Antigua and Barbuda, currently at the bottom of the group, slumped to their third consecutive defeat.
Orthea Riley registered the first helmet trick of the tournament by scoring in the 20th, 32nd, 59th and 68th minutes. Suriname’s other goal was an own goal netted by Antigua & Barbuda’s Tyanna Simon in the 44th minute.