Battle T&T for semifinal spot tomorrow
By Franklin Wilson in Houston Texas compliments of Fazia’s Collection, Crown Mining Supply, Anglin Enterprises USA, Stag Beer, Germans Restaurant, Queensway Security Service
Guyana’s Lady Jags created history on two fronts yesterday when they became only the third Caribbean side to register a win at this level of football in CONCACAF whilst also carving out their first major win since coming together as a unit in 2009.
Coming into the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship without any warm up matches and achieving this huge win against all odds was a major boost for the team and Technical staff yesterday at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas and the Guyanese fans as well as Presidents of the Guyana Football Federation and National Women’s Association, Wayne Forde and Charmin Wade who were both present.
Coming from a goal down and recording victory like Trinidad and Tobago accomplished three days ago against the same opponent, knocked the Guatemalans out of contention yesterday as the Lady Jags got second half goals from second half substitute Mariam El-Masri in the 71st and five minutes later from Alison Heydorn. Guatemala had taken the lead in the 54th minute through Ana Lucia Martinez.
All-round team work and a belief in themselves despite the opposition were qualities that fueled the Lady Jags along with custodian Chante Sandiford who again came up big for her country with some brilliant saves at threatening moments during the game.
Lady Jags started off the first half an energized bunch in their predominantly green uniforms with the Golden Arrowhead on the left side as both teams sought to pass the ball around in the opening three minutes, the Guatemalans getting the first shot on goal which was calmly taken by Chante Sandiford.
It was a midfield exchange in the first 10 minutes as both sides sought to find a way of penetrating to get into the attacking third. The most promising run for Guyana was in the 15th minute following a good build up but was deemed offside as the midfield battle of the minds continued.
Guatemala came close in the 19th minute when Andrea Rabanales’ shot went across goal and into touch. Rabanales again could not get on target three minutes later. The Lady Jags started to come into their own 26 minutes into the game as Captain Rodrigues pushed forward along with striker Otesha Charles. Conditions unlike the first day, was more warm given it was an early afternoon encounter.
Guatemala were forced to make a change on the half hour when Londy Barrios picked up an injury and was replaced by Kellin Mayen. The Lady Jags almost conceded the lead in the 31st minute with a rare lapse at the back but the opposition could not capitalize.
Rabanales powered a shot that was tipped over the bar by Sandiford in the 37th minute to the applause of the fans. Lady Jags on the end of a promising play was awarded a free kick just outside the area in the 39th minute to the left of Guatemala’s goal with the ensuing shot going just outside the right upright.
Another lapse in the Lady Jags’ defence again almost cost them on the stroke of halftime when Rabanales was able to ease into the area but was again denied by Sandiford. A solo run by Ashlee Savona in the lone minute of added on time where she beat about three defenders went wide of the right upright to end the half 0-0.
Guyana started the second half with more purpose as they swarmed Guatemala in the final third. Guatemala brought into the fray in the 46th minute midfielder Daniela Andrade for defender Christian Recinos, while Guyana substituted Julia Gonsalves for Mariam El Masri, an addition that added much needed energy to the Lady Jags’.
Poor work at the back allowed the Central Americans the opportunity to canter into the lead when Ana Lucia Martinez beat Sandiford to her left in the 54th minute. Two minutes later Andrea Rabanales’ shot was tipped into touch by Sandiford whose skills was brought into play again.
It was a good period for the Guatemalans who increased the pressure on their opponents. Otesha Charles was taken out of the game in the 60th and replaced by Brittany Persaud as the Lady Jags sought to slow down the free flowing Guatemalans.
Substitute El-Masri came close to equalizing for the Lady Jags in the 63rd minute, her powerful shot went just outside the right upright even as the Guatemalans continued their dominance. The wait for the equalizer was well worth it as Captain Rodrigues made a saccharine pass to substitute El-Masri in the 71st minute, and she calmly slotted the ball past Yoselin Franco to the far left corner of the goal.
The go ahead goal for the Lady Jags was from down town in the 76th minute, a long well directed shot from midfielder Alison Heydorn about 25 meters out that sailed over the outstretched hands of Franco settling in the back of the nets to the delight of her colleagues.
With the momentum now swinging their way, Guyana brought in midfielder Dana Bally for Leah Romalho in the 79th minute. One minute later, Guatemala brought in Jennifer Munoz for Celeste Gatica. Guatemala on the end of a free kick almost evened the score but solid goalkeeping by Sandiford who parried the ball away and timely back up work by her defenders even as Guatemala rushed on, denied them once again.
In the final three minutes of added on time the Lady Jags were strategic in buying time to secure their advantage by putting the ball into touch as often as possible, Guatemala pressed for all their worth from the half way line but to no avail. Final score Guyana 2 Guatemala 1.
The Guyana team made two changes from the side that faced Canada with defenders Julia Gonsalves and Leah Ramalho coming in for Kayla De Souza and Mariam El-Masri. Guatemala made three changes from the side that lost to Trinidad and Tobago, Jennifer Munoz (forward) and defenders Kellin Mayen and Didra Martinez made way for forward Celeste Gatica and defender Londy Bariors and midfielder Andrea Rabanales.
Player of the match was Alison Heydorn, who scored that beautiful long range effort to hand Guyana the victory.
The Lady Jags now have a chance to make the final four once they defeat Trinidad and Tobago tomorrow. A draw could also see them advance, but the girls will most certainly be focusing on a win.
Teams: Guyana – 1 Chante Sandiford GK, 2 Alison Heydorn, 3. Briana DeSouza, 5. Julia Gonsalves (15. Mariam El-Masri 46th min), 6. Leah Romalho (14. Dana Bally 79th min), 7. Justine Rodrigues Capt., 8. Ashlee Savona, 9. Ashley Rodrigues (Capt.), 12. Otesha Charles (11.Brittany Persaud 60th min), 13. Kailey Leila, 17. Olivia Gonsalves.
Guatemala – 1. Yoselin Franco GK, 3. Marilyn Rivera, 4. Christian Recinos, 5. Londy Barrios, 6. Gloria Aguilar, 7. Celeste Gatica, 9. Ana Lucia Martinez, 10. Vivian Herrera, 14. Coralia Monterroso Capt., 18. Diana Barrera, 19. Andrea Rabanales.
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