Guyana Women off to impressive start
Pan Am Challenge Cup
Guyana women’s hockey team presently participating at the Pan Am Challenge Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil produced two impressive performances against Paraguay and Brazil respectively to stay in contention for one of the top two spots that will gain automatic qualification for the Pan Am playoff of the 2013 World Cup.
The Guyanese first defeated Paraguay 2-1 after having to come from a goal down and then drew 1-1 with Brazil to be joint leaders on four points with the hosts after two rounds, while Uruguay has three after a similar amount of matches in the five-nation tournament.
In the first game, a diving finish by right wing Amanda Garnett sent the Guyana ladies into wild celebration as the goal signalled their first lead in a game that saw them drop behind from the outset.
Despite a good start, Guyana conceded in just the third minute to Maria Servian Giosa of Paraguay when Guyanese left back, Marzana Fiedtkou, lost her footing and the ball deep in the Guyana half. Paraguay made good on their counter-attack and were up by one goal in just the third minute of the match.
Guyana controlled most of the possession for the rest of the half and forced the game into the Paraguayan half, but a number of corners and run-of-play chances were squandered as the Guyanese, in their golden Dixie Lee gear, tried to settle their nerves and the pressure of being down.
The second half would see an improved performance by the Guyanese who earned their 7th penalty corner of the match and first of the second half in the 61st minute. Striker Kerensa Fernandes, who was unfortunately on the substitutes’ bench during the penalty corners of the first half, blasted home a rocket of a shot past the Paraguayan goalkeeper to draw her team even. Fernandes would have a golden opportunity to put her side ahead when she intercepted an errant Paraguayan pass in defence, but found the sliding goalkeeper with her hurried shot.
Gabriella Xavier, who had been enjoying a productive game in midfield received the ball from the right and made a long through pass to the Fernandes high on the left wing. Fernandes, noticing the Paraguayan defenders being caught out, threaded her pass across the face of goal to find the sliding right wing Amanda Garnett for the winner in the 60th minute. Although Paraguay would threaten through a few long counterattacking runs, the Guyanese looked firmly in control of the match and maintained their lead for the rest of time.
Brazil made light work of Bermuda with a 3-0 victory after leading 1-0 at the end of the first half.