Bermuda blanks Cayman at CFU U14s

Sincere Hall (17) scored twice for Bermuda.

Bermuda picked up their second win of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Boys’ U14 Challenge Series, while handing Group D hosts Cayman Islands their first loss of the tournament with a 4-0 result at Ed Bush Sports Complex Monday night (20 August).

The Bermudan boys asked questions of the Cayman defence early and the local boys had no answers when Sincere Hall found himself with only keeper Jayden Miller to beat and ensured he found the back of the net in the 7th minute.

Captains Jacob McMillian-Collett (Cayman) and Eijaz Shakir (Bermuda) with the match officials before kick-off.

As head coach Lovane Joven sought to find a way for his side to penetrate the stubborn Bermudan defence, the task got harder when Cayman found themselves in a deeper hole after being undone by an own goal in the 27th minute.

With the physical intensity picking up in the second half, referee Steffon Dewar issued warnings, with Cayman picking up a pair of yellow cards not long after play resumed. Substitute Jynu Jacob found himself unlucky when he was sent off after fouling a Bermudan opponent and was likely a victim of circumstance as the man with the whistle sought to ensure order was maintained.

A penalty kick in the 52nd saw Hall netting his second goal. Ahtaio Burgess, who came off the bench, gave Bermuda their fourth goal in the 66th minute.

Rashaad Powery battles for the ball with a Bermudan player.

Assistant coach Garth Anderson reflected on what went wrong for the local boys. “We expected them to come and try to press and feel out what [we] were all about in the first 15 minutes. The thing is, we [lost] focus in the early part and just made two mistakes, which pulled us down and never really helped our cause,” he told reporters.

From there on in, those in Cayman colours struggled to keep their composure and were outplayed by a better opponent on the night.

Bermuda’s coach Cecoy Robinson praised his players for sticking to the game plan and taking full points from their clash with the hosts. “It’s always sweet having to beat someone at their home field,” he said. “I told them before the game that this is their house [and] they’re going to fight for every inch of it, so we need to fight even harder and to want it more and I think the boys did really, really well tonight.”

He said it came down to the preparation ahead of the game and the execution once the players took to the pitch. “We made a few adjustments [from the first game], so that we could slow the game down and keep possession of the ball and push forward and get some goals,” Robinson said. “We had to push early. We saw a bit of the first game but we didn’t really see them being tested, so we said we must go out and let’s put something on them and see how they react.”

Cayman Islands starters: (L-R) Breshawn Watson, Justin Byles, Cameron Smith, Rashaad Powery, Nathan Ebanks, Akiel Bodden, Daniel Rivers, Manny Duran, Brandon Jackson, Jayden Miller, Jacob McMillian-Collett (capt).

Bermuda is now in pole position to take the top spot in the group after beating Cuba 2-1 two days earlier. Up next for them is the US Virgin Islands, who lost 11-0 to Cayman on Saturday and then 14-0 against the Cubans on Monday night. That match is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on 22 August.

Meantime, the Cayman boys have to rebound for another tough match-up when they face Cuba on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. to round out play in the group.

The series is being used to give Caribbean teams exposure in preparation for the CONCACAF Boys’ U15 Championships in Florida next year.

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