Barbados Tridents registered an impressive 3-0 victory over the Cayman Islands last night in Group A of League C at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf, and simultaneously gained promotion to League B in the CONCACAF Nations League.
And while the Tridents finished with the same 12 points as the Cayman Island Turtles, they forged ahead on goal difference. This win now puts the Bajan Tridents on solid footing for a chance to qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Starting minus usual captain Rashad Jules, Hadan Holligan took the reins. Other changes from the last game against Saint Martin over the weekend in Anguilla, where the national team lost 1-0, saw Ricardio Morris, Akeem Hill, Rashad Smith and Holligan deployed in the starting 11, with overseas players Tel Aviv Maccabi striker Nick Blackman and English League 2 Club Carlisle United’s Hallam Hope.
It wasn’t until the 32nd minute that the Tridents got the go-ahead goal. A shot on goal by Smith went wide and out for a corner. Holligan stepped up to the flag and Hope rose to the occasion, tucking the ball off the set-piece into the back of the net, sending the small crowd into a frenzy.
As the second half rolled around, Blackman was subbed out for Jules before he caused an upset for the visitors. Captain Joshewa Frederick-Charlery was knocked unconscious momentarily after a heavy one-on-one challenge with Jules, causing a gasp across the stadium in the 63rd minute.
Despite the power outages across the island, the bleachers began to fill as the crowds descended on the stadium to witness the Tridents’ performance.
In the 75th minute Armando “Sugar” Lashley replaced Blackman. Eleven minutes later, Lashley sweetened the pot for the home team with an impressive control and turn from just outside the box, and levelling the ball with his right foot, hit it for all it was worth into the top of the net.
The entire team rushed to the sidelines as they mobbed their officials and the fans all across the Turf reacted when they realized Barbados had just won the group phase competition.
The Tridents took the time then to put on a three-minute show for the fans, and the boys, clad in their canary yellow national kit engaged in a game of touch as supporters erupted in cries of ‘Ole’ on each pass.
And to add the icing on the cake, Hope struck once again in the 89th minute following a through ball straight down the center of the midfield.
Speaking to the media following the game, Latapy described the game as “very difficult” and ksaid all kudos must be given to the teams.
“Firstly, we would say congrats to the Cayman Islands. They came here and they made the game very difficult for us … A lot of things we do, we do it as a team, as a unit, and that includes the BFA as well and that pressure obviously is because of the result in the last game. We know that football is about winning games, but the bigger picture for us, when we started this campaign, was about qualifying for Group B. We knew from the time we lost the away game to the Cayman Islands, it was going to come down to the last game.
“We had a decision to make, and again fair play to the players for giving me their support, for buying into the things that we’re asking them to do. We knew in the last game, whatever happened, we had to come and win this game so we rested some key players because we knew this one was do or die, and I think it showed in the last 20 to 25 minutes of the game that we were a lot fresher than they were,” Latapy said.
He added: “I think we’re a step or two up the ladder, but we still have a long way to go. I think in the past, we were winning games and everyone was still trying to get forward and get their own name on the score sheet, [but] we’re in a situation now where the players are understanding that everybody has their roles and function and it’s a team game and we leave the responsibility to scoring goals mainly to the forward players.”
Latapy explained that the Tridents knew from the start of the game that a clean sheet was vital, and he was happy that he got the two things he asked for – goals and a clean sheet.
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