PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago – After a rainy day at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on Monday, “Mother Nature” held up for the highly anticipated matchup between The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. In the end, The Bahamas’ “Junkanoo Boys” turned in a defensive performance but an early goal by the home team was enough to help them hold on for a 1-0 victory in CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Nations League action last night.
It was a tale of two halves for the Bahamian squad as a change in the formation to start the second half paid off but did not result in the visiting team finding the back of the net. They started to press the home team’s defense and made them work harder. In the first half, The Bahamas played great defense as goalkeeper Julio Jemison and his defense did enough to not concede another goal.
The Trindad and Tobago ‘Soca Warriors’’ lone goal was scored by midfield player Neveal Hackshaw, who headed a corner kick past Jemison into the back of the net to send the local fans in an uproar.
The loss keeps The Bahamas at three points on the points table in League B Group C action. Trinidad and Tobago has three points. Leading the group is Nicaragua with four points after drawing 2-2 with St. Vincent and the Grenadines earlier yesterday. Sitting at the bottom is St. Vincent and the Grenadines with just one point.
Team Bahamas Head Coach Nesley Jean felt that the team beat themselves and can compete with any team in the region. Trinidad and Tobago came off a 2-1 loss to Nicaragua on Friday and wanted revenge on the Bahamian side who dashed their world cup qualifying chances last year with a 0-0 draw.
The aim for The Bahamas senior men’s national team was to secure three points to open their 2022 CONCACAF Nations League campaign and they did just that when they took down St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 1-0, in their opening match at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on Friday afternoon.
After being deadlocked at 0-0 for 68 minutes in that game, The Bahamas’ captain Lesly St. Fleur went for placement on a penalty kick and he pushed the ball to the right side of the goal. He sent opposing goalkeeper Jadiel Chance diving to the left only to come up empty-handed.
St. Fleur sent the Bahamian fans into a frenzy as he and his teammates ran to the corner flag and celebrated what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
“Nothing was going through my head, just score,” St. Fleur said. “You know it’s a penalty kick and an easy target to the goal. You have a chance. Step up to the plate. You pick a side and you just go there and that’s what happened. Then, we celebrate together; it’s always a good feeling to celebrate with the team when you score.”
The penalty kick came as a result of Peter Julmis being brought down by a St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ defender while penetrating their six-yard box.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines controlled the tempo for most of the match. They had some shots that included one that bounced off the right side of the upright bar and Jemison cradled the ball. Jean had to wait until halftime to make adjustments. The team responded positively to the adjustments as they created more and contained the visitors.
“The team we have out here is very young,” Jean said. “Some of these guys have never played at this level, so of course they’re going to have nerves and it’s going to kick in. The way we wanted to play, and the first half, didn’t go the way we wanted to, but we hung in there. We had to defend properly and change our mindset and, after halftime, we had to change a few things. The players were more relaxed and they were able to play how they wanted to.”
Evelt Julmis almost got on the scoresheet when his header, that came from a free kick, had a chance of going at the back of the net but Chance caught it for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Bahamas returns to action on Friday with a home matchup against Nicaragua at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.