Saint Lucia beat Dominica 3-1 in a return leg home game of the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nation’s League to top Group C of the tournament, at the Daren Sammy Cricket Grounds [DSCG], Monday night.
Team captain Kurt Frederick continued to impress as he netted a brace to lead the National Senior Men’s squad past the “Nature Isle” contenders for an exciting victory.
From early in the game, Team Saint Lucia set the pace for events to follow as the home team sort to stamp their authority on the match, with a 2-0 aggregate lead over their rivals.
Within the first five minutes of Monday’s game, Saint Lucia’s strikers got as many as two chances on goal as the team got into stride.
With the momentum in their favour, Greg President slotted home in the 18th minute with a left footer into the nets after some good inter-passing and offensive buildup, to send his team 1-up.
Team 758 went on to double the score in the 40th minute as Fredrick completed a clinical finish, striking for goal off a half-volley with his favoured left-foot.
Fredrick converted again in the 62nd minute, with a shot from outside the box off a rebound as Team 758 continued to pile on the pressure. Prior to that, President struck the post as the Dominican custodian closed down the angle in a one-on –one with him , and minutes later brought out a brilliant save off President’s explosive ‘bicycle kick’ to deny the wily striker a goal.
Briel Thomas pulled one back for Dominica from the spot in the 85th minute. But the home side made good of their performance to come through triumphantly; and later gathered in front of cheering home fans to celebrate the victory.
Notably, Saint Lucia joins Puerto Rico as the only other team of the current CONCACAF Nations League to finish with a perfect record. Saint Lucia topped the points table with 12 pts., from four matches for a splendid unbeaten run.
Consequently, Team 758 have been rewarded with promotion to League B and a ticket to the 2023 Gold Cup Prelims this summer.
Dominica finishes the tournament with two draws and two losses and begin to look forward to the next cycle.
At the post –match press conference, head coach Stern John commended the players for a job well done, while noting that it’s a work in progress and the squad must stay focused in preparation for the next cycle.
“I feel that it’s definitely a work in progress and we want to score more goals,” said John. “We created a lot of chances but we were not clinical in front of goal …I feel we can be a little more clinical , but taking three goals ( today) is a lot better than before.”
The former Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) professional striker notes that there is lots of work in store, while advising the strikers to be “more clinical” when they get these chances.
He explained that the technical unit used the match to expose some young players to the game in the overall buildup of the squad.
Added John: “We have a big squad …and we have a lot of players that need to get an opportunity to play on a national team and to play on an international stage as well.
“We have a couple of players, some 16 and 17 year-old guys …and they got the opportunity to play at the international level. Hopefully, we can continue giving the younger players an opportunity to play and that’s what we want.”
Speaking to the composure of the team, John asserted: “They are selling well. When the senior professionals come back and join up with the national team, you see the level that the international players play at.
“And the youngsters that we have in the national programme now, they really want to play for the national team and they really want to work hard and play on the big stage.”