Benna Boys hold off raging Jaguars to climb in group
CONCACAF Nations League…
Antigua and Barbuda took a hard-fought one-goal lead against Guyana after the first leg of their CONCACAF Nations League Group C match on Friday evening at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The Benna Boys completed a 2-1 win against the Golden Jaguars with the home crowd coming in as a strong 12th man.
Guyana must now try to bounce back in the return match on Monday at the Leonora Track and Field Centre to keep their hopes of advancing out of the group stage alive.
On Friday, Guyana began the match dominating ball possession, but Antigua were on target with their opening shots, which sent them ahead.
Antigua drew first blood in the 15th minute when Quinton Griffith was able to push one past the custodian, Akel Clarke.
Two minutes later, Junior Benjamin was set up with a lovely assist, which needed elementary work to pick up Antigua’s second goal.
In the first half, the hosts served up eight shots while the guest had seven, with only two on target for either side. Those spilled into four corner kicks for each side in the first 45 minutes.
Following the 15-minute break, Emery Welshman pulled one back for Guyana when he scored in the 50th minute. Guyana’s strategy seemed to change with an increase in tempo on the shot attempts. They took five shots in the opening five minutes of the second half, one of which proved successful.
Like the Guyana Head Coach Márcio Máximo stated prior to the match, the Antiguans can be physical. At the 70-minute mark, Antigua had already picked up 11 fouls compared to Guyana’s 7; the match ended with the winning side having 14 while Guyana had 10.
Antigua deployed a pair of fresh legs in the 66th minute to boost their defensive efforts while Kelsey Benjamin replaced Clive Nobrega in Guyana’s striking department during the 67th minute.
The shots continued to be offered from the Guyanese, but the home side looked quite content to park the bus for the entire second half, since not a single shot was taken at the guests’ uprights.
With less than 15 minutes left to rumble, Antigua made a change to their midfield and attacking departments while Sheldon Holder was the other forward subbed into Guyana’s XI to replace Trayon Bobb.
However, neither team were able to toggle the score any further which meant Antigua recorded their second win of the League.
This win pushes Antigua to six points and into second place behind the leading team, Jamaica, which also have six points, but boast a superior goal difference. Guyana are third with three points, ahead of only Aruba, who are yet to secure a point. (Kizan Brumell)