The Golden Jaguars preparation for their upcoming CONCACAF Nations League Belize fixture suffered an untimely setback after they lost to traditional foes Suriname 3-1 yesterday in a friendly international at the Pierkhan Stadium, Nickerie, Suriname.
Golden Jaguars head-coach Michael Johnson during a post-match comment said, “The objective was completed, we wanted a tough fixture and opportunity to see the players in a tough fixture to see who can deliver and who may not be appropriate. Moving forward, we know exactly who we are taking with us.”
According to Johnson, “The play could have been better. If I can give you an analogy, you can do as much sparring as you want and when you get in the ring it’s a different thing. They needed rounds and today was a round. What it gives us is clarity in our selection process. Everyone looked brilliant in training but now we can select the team based on the clarity of today’s game.”
Quizzed if tactical changes will be employed heading into the Belize clash, Johnson declared, “I don’t think tactically but from a personnel standpoint. We have 12 international players flying in to join the camp and we will be ready for Belize.”
With the previous clash ending 3-2 in favour of the host during the 2016 Caribbean Cup Qualifiers, Guyana’s starting XI consisted of [GK] Akel Clarke, Sherwin Skeete, Walter Moore, Clive Nobrega, Kevin Layne, Quincy Adams, Trayon Bobb, Leo Lovell, Sheldon Holder, Gregory Richardson and Kelsey Benjamin.
It was a clinical and efficient performance from the home side in front of a large crowd as they took the lead in the 22nd minute, following a penalty conversion into the lower left corner, with custodian Akel Clarke going the wrong way.
Walter Moore was the culprit following a handball inside the right of the box. The crossbar would then deny the home side in the 27th minute.
The Surinamese would not be denied further however, as they doubled their lead in the 32nd minute. It was an excellent individual effort from the winger following a solo run from the right side, dribbling two defenders including Moore while cutting into the area before slotting past Clarke into the lower left corner.
Guyana struggled to maintain possession in their opponent’s attacking third and were constantly ripped apart by the crisp passing of the home side on the defensive end.
Goalkeeper Clarke denied the opposing forward following a one-on-one situation in the 36th minute, as Suriname continued to dominate proceedings.
It went from bad to worse for the visitors, as the home fashioned their third conversion three minutes later. A flat cross from the left side was inadvertently directed into the back of the net by Moore following a desperate sliding attempt to clear the danger.
The aforesaid goal effectively ended the contest. To start the second period, both teams opted to ring in the changes.
The alteration of the squad seemed to benefit the visitors as Kelsey Benjamin pulled one back in the 60th minute.
It was a superb individual effort, as Benjamin uncorked a right foot volleyed from the left side of the box, which sailed into the top right corner, after a poor headed clearance landed in his path.
The goal seemed to inspire the visitors, as their ball possession grew, a stark contrast to their dismal first half showing.
However, Benjamin’s conversion proved to be the only noteworthy moment for the Guyanese as the Surinamese rearguard easily dealt with their attacking threats.
A 75th minute save from Clarke ensured Guyana ended the second period with a clean sheet as a powerful shot from the left side following a counterattack was thwarted at full stretch.
The match functioned as preparation for Guyana’s must-win clash with 13th placed Belize at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora in the CONCACAF Nations League on March 23rd.
Victory for the local side would effectively clinch their maiden 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup berth. Guyana currently sit in 8th place on six points.