Cautious Tridents pay the price
BARBADOS paid the price for adopting a defensive approach, losing 0-1 to the Dominican Republic in a key Group 4 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Cup match at Kensington Oval Tuesday night.
After the 1-0 victory over Dominica on Sunday, Barbados promised to play with pride and passion and produce another purposeful performance, but they seemed contented to settle for a draw following Dominica’s 3-2 triumph over Aruba in the preceding match.
Using a 4-5-1 system, with Mario Harte and Kemar Headley playing as wide midfielders on each flank and Tristan Parris as the lone striker for the most part, the Bajan Tridents sat back and allowed Dominican Republic to dictate proceedings.
After a goalless first half in which a passive Barbados soaked up plenty pressure, the Dominican Republic were inevitably rewarded for their dominance with the winning goal in the 80th minute.
Heinz Barmettler weaved his way unmolested down the left side of the seemingly non-existent Barbados defence, and cut the ball back for the unmarked substitute Pedro Nunez, who easily beat goalkeeper Jason Boxill from abut ten yards, to break the Tridents.
It was the Dominican Republic’s second win in as many internationals versus Barbados following their 3-1 home triumph in 1986.
Boxill had a busy first half and was indebted to his Paradise teammate Andre Bourne’s goalline save after he advanced off his line and spread his body, but failed to grab the ball from the feet of Dominican Republic’s captain Kerbi Richardo, whose push was neatly cleared.
He also made a near post save to deny Erick Lopez, and had to dive to his right to deflect a goal-bound shot from Richardo, who was given acres of space on the right flank.
Awarded a free kick in the 30th minute, Barbados missed a golden chance to score when Parris failed to connect with a header from a floated ball over the defence by his skipper Jeffrey Williams, who along with the diminutive Ranaldo Marques, were industrious in midfield, if not creative.
It was only after their opponents scored that Barbados made a desperate dash for a late equalizer.
Strikers Armando Lashley and Kyle Gibson were brought on, but Headley, after controlling, lashed his shot over the bars.
Big sweeper Barry Skeete joined the attack during injury time and went close to scoring but his header from a left side cross by substitute Carl Joseph hit the upright. The rebound fell to Parris but his snapshot was off-target.
The Dominican Republic moved to the top of the group on four points, while Barbados and Dominica have three points each with one round of matches to be played tonight.
Dominica will meet the Dominican Republic at 6 p.m., and a victory for the latter would guarantee them top spot, while Barbados will play Aruba at 8 p.m.