Goals from striker Mynor Lopeez and midfielder Guillermon Ramirez propelled Guatemala to a 2-0 victory over a 10-man Guyana in the nation team’s first official International friendly for 2012, at the Providence Stadium last night.
In front of sparsely populated crowd on a surface that was fairly heavily drenched due to rainfall for the majority of yesterday, the Guatemalans known as the “Los Azul y Blanco” (the blue and white) in summary dealt with the tricky conditions better than their hosts to come out victorious.
Both teams commenced the fixture with a seemingly similar 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 tactic in which much emphasis was placed on hitting the long ball towards the respective teams “target man” strikers of Mynor Lopez and Shawn `Bubbly’ Beveney.
Although both sides struggled initially to have any fluidity in their play due to the wet surface, the first 20 minutes of play the home side created a plethora of decent chances but failed the capitalize on them.
In the fourth minute of play a marauding run down the right-flank by winger Ricky Shakes, saw him cross sharply to Beveney in the box, who missed a great chance by striking the ball wide.
In the 21st minute Shakes was again in the action sending another sharp cross into the box But, with left-winger Trayon Bobb flying in, Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez dived out brilliantly to deflect the cross wide. More chances fell to Charles Pollard, who flashed a header wide via a corner kick while Beveney tended to lose possession timidly every time Guyana came forward in attack.
In the 32nd minute Guatemela made Guyana pay for their lack of clinical play when playmaker Marco Papa floated a delightful ball into the box which the Guyanese defence failed to negotiate properly and a lurking Lopez poached home the opener.
Lopez almost made it 2-0 four minutes later, when a poor back heel by Guyana defender JP Rodrigues was barely cleared by `keeper Ronson Williams in the nick of time.
At this stage of the first half, Guatemala begun to assert themselves on the proceedings by displaying the intricate passing game that is common among Central American teams.
The Jaguars, in response, failed to cope with the wet surface as the teams went in the first half with Guatemala leading 1-0.
Guyana really should have levelled the score almost immediately after resumption, when left-back Walter `Boyd’ Moore crossed into the box with Shakes, arriving at the back post, headed agonizingly wide.
For the remainder of the second half, the football from both sides due to the aforementioned conditions was unattractive and the game became a dull mid-field slugfest. The biggest cheer the small crowd made all evening was when Coach Jamaal Shabazz substituted Beveney who struggled all evening, while Moore was given a straight red card late in second half for an altercation with one of the opposing players.
The slippery surface was to be the undoing on the home side for the final goal, when the usually solid right-back Jake Newton, in attempting the clear a long-ball, fumbled at the last minute and Ramirez, who is Guatemala’s all time most capped player with 103 caps, pouched on the mistake and netted home his 16th international goal and the winner in the 93rd minute for the visitors.
Guyana starting XI: Ronson Williams, Jake Newton, Walter Moore, Charles Pollard, John Rodrigues, Ricky Shakes, Trayon Bobb, Konata Manning, Christopher Nurse, Gregory Richardson, Shawn Beveney.
Guatemala starting XI: Ricardo Jerez, Yony Flores, Carlos Gallardo Gustavo Cabrera, Elias Vasquez, Henry Lopez, Jose Contreras, Manuel Leon, Marco Papa, Mynor Lopez, Jonathan Lopez.