Sports

Nations League Soccer

Piton Boyz Beat Dominica, Faces Anguilla Tomorrow Guadeloupe gets past Barbados 1-Nil

By Reginald Andrew

Soccer fans are in for a long-awaited treat to witness the Saint Lucia national football team in action—and come Sunday, the Piton Boyz fresh from their recent away win will take on Anguilla in their first home game of the 2022-2023 CONCACAF Nations League tournament.

Piton Boyz football team.
Piton Boyz football team.

Saint Lucia Thursday defeated Dominica 1-nil in their opening Group C- League C game of the tournament, on Thursday, to go top of that table.

Reports state that the Piton Boyz demonstrated much resolve in a match-crunching away game to take down the home side at Windsor Park, Dominica.

Jevick Mac Farlane’s winner in the second half gives Saint Lucia control of Group C after gaining victory in a hard-fought game.

After a cautious start, Saint Lucia controlled much of the possession and managed a few unthreatening shots, but neither side made a breakthrough.

Dominica got the first strike at goal from a 33rd-minute dangerous free kick on the edge of the box taken by Javid George, but the ball was struck harmlessly over the bar.

Action in the St Lucia vs Dominica game.
Action in the St Lucia vs Dominica game.

Saint Lucia upped the momentum in the second half, and in the 54th minute, striker Andrus Remy found space down the right wing and sent in a sharp, low cross to Jevick Mac Farlane, who completed a perfectly timed run to put the ball in the back of the net and put the Piton Boyz ahead, 1-0.

Dominica brought two substitutes to outweigh the deficit and earned another dangerous free kick in the 59th minute. This time Anfernee Frederick stepped up and rifled it towards goal, but a fine fingertip save from fully outstretched Saint Lucian goalkeeper Vino Barclett pushed the ball just a few inches wide.

Barclett was tested again in the 71st minute from a free-kick on the 18-yard line, but he overcame the challenges thrown at him. Julian Wade fired low towards the wall and the shot pinballed around safely into Barclett’s hands.

Saint Lucia did well to absorb the increasing pressure from the hosts and held on to secure the victory and take a commanding position in Group C.

With games in hand, the Piton Boyz will look eagerly to cement its place at the top of the table.

Also on Thursday, Barbados suffered their third defeat of the season as they went down to Guadeloupe, at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground [DSCG].

Guadeloupe beat Barbados 1-0 on the road in Group A of League B in the Concacaf Nations League with Thierry Ambrose’s goal enough to get all three points from the contest.

Guadeloupe bolted out, clearly intent on pushing hard with its offensive play and it paid off with a crafty individual effort from Ambrose in the 16th minute. Ambrose took possession outside the box and beat a pair of defenders with a nice skill move before firing in with a right-footed shot. This is the striker’s second goal of the 2022-23 CNL after he scored in the opener against Cuba.

Barbados had an opportunity for a quick response in the first 45 minutes, with mid-fielder Omani Leacock doing well to keep the ball in play and set up his teammate- forward Keon Atkins for a shot that missed the target.

In the 65th minute, Guadeloupe had an opening to double its lead with Ambrose attempting to turn from scorer to provider and cutting a ball back for Gregory Gendrey, but the long shot was too high.

Leacock once again had a chance at an equalizer in second-half stoppage time but was unable to find a way through, resulting in Guadeloupe securing a second victory in League B action.

The squads have a rematch on June, 12 in their final CNL contest of the year, with Guadeloupe hosting at the Stade Rene Serge Nabajoth in Les Abymes.

Meanwhile, expectations are high locally as the Piton Boyz take on Anguilla in their first international home game of the season,  at the DSCG.

Commenting on the prospects in store for Saint Lucia after their latest victory, St Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. communications officer, Michael Pierre stated: “Should St Lucia win the game against Anguilla…it will push the team squarely at the top of the Concacaf Nations League Group C- League C of the competition, which would give us a maximum of six points.”

He added: “Hats off to the St Lucia squad and the technical team for a job well done in earning that well-deserved victory against Dominica.”

He explained that upon returning to the island, St Lucia will continue its preparation for the home game, on Sunday.

Towards its marketing promotions for Sunday’s game, the SLFA disclosed that anyone who has purchased a ticket to witness Barbados ‘home games’ will be afforded a complimentary free-ticket pass to Sunday’s game.

“The local organizing committee has been sparing no effort in making sure that preparations are up to standard …and that the games are well organized and presented,” said Pierre.

Sending out a wide public appeal to support the Piton Boyz, in their quest, Pierre declared: “We are appealing to the public to come out and support Team St Lucia …as we try to rally to move from Group C to Group B.”

He asserted: “Winning in Dominica is a catalyst …and I know that the technical team will rally behind the players and motivate them, and we don’t expect nothing less than a victory against Anguilla, on Sunday.”

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