Guyana coach impressed with Jaguars

March 28, 2023
Jamaal Shabazz
Jamaal Shabazz

HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC):

Guyana head coach Jamaal Shabazz said he was happy with their disciplined performance after they convincingly beat Bermuda 2-0 on Saturday to cement the second spot behind Haiti in Group B, League B of the Concacaf Nations League.

Playing at the Flora Duffy Stadium in the Nations League qualifier, Guyana sealed victory with second-half goals from midfielder Liam Gordon, who plays for English League Two club Walsall, and defender Jeremy Garrett.

"Realistically, we don't expect to win the group because we think Haiti will run away with it," Shabazz said.

"We're really realistically looking for one of the preliminary spots, and that's looking good for us now. We are happy for that. I thought we showed good confidence to put the ball down and play. We didn't just play kick-ball.

"Even at times when Bermuda really piled on the pressure, I am proud of how the guys kept the ball and kept their shape and discipline," the Trinidadian, who won the home fixture 2-1 last June, added.

By contrast, his opposite number Kyle Lightbourne admitted Bermuda were well beaten as they saw their slim hopes of qualifying for a second Concacaf Gold Cup end.

"I thought it was a poor game from us," said Lightbourne,

"We didn't really play the way we would have liked to. For whatever reason, it just didn't happen.

"I was disappointed with the way we played in the first half ... we started the second half a little brighter, but we let in two very sloppy goals.

"It was not a disgraceful performance, but it was a performance that we could have done better in possession of the ball. We didn't use the ball as good as we can."

Bermuda's UK-based captain Nahki Wells had a quiet afternoon in what was almost certainly his final international appearance, and the only bright spot for the hosts were the performances of younger players Lightbourne drafted into the squad, including Harry Twite, Jai Bean, Ahria Simmons and Sincere Hall, who were making their senior international debuts.

"I think the guys that had debuts did themselves proud, especially Harry Twite. I thought he did really well for an international debut," Lightbourne said.

In today's final matches, Guyana face Montserrat at the Wildey Turf Stadium in Barbados, while Bermuda take on Haiti in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

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