SVG beaten by Nicaragua in Nations League qualifier
September 11, 2018
SVG beaten by Nicaragua in Nations League qualifier

Two first half goals by Henry Nino, in the 27th minute and Juan Barrera in the 39th, condemned St Vincent and the Grenadines to a 2-0 loss to Nicaragua in the inaugural Nations League Qualifiers last Saturday at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

Both Nino and Barrera’s can be deemed defensive errors committed by the St Vincent and the Grenadines team.

Nicaragua’s domination in the first half, though it did not result any change in the score line.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, however, had the better of the position and dominated long passages of play, and created a few chances.

The introduction of Diel Spring and Jalen Miller at the beginning of the second half, as swaps for Wendell Cuffy and Kevin Francis, respectively, tilted the balance of play for the Vincentians in the second half.

Additionally, the speedy Trivis Fraser came in for Azinho Solomon in the 69th minute. Fraser’s pace stretched the Nicaraguans’ defence, but only resulted in “oohs and aahs” from the Vincentian supporters, as he got past his tired opponents.

Despite those moments of promise, the age old problem of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football, that of failing to score when opportunities present themselves, again surfaced.

St Vincent and the Grenadines was able get behind the Nicaraguans’ defence with greater frequency, much to the delight of the local crowd, who still left the arena disappointed.

The loss blotted St Vincent and the Grenadines’ record against Nicaragua.

A 2-2 draw, and a 4-1 win by St Vincent and the Grenadines in World Cup qualifiers in 2004, are the two previous meeting by the two countries at the senior level.

St Vincent and the Grenadines will next play away in French Guiana on October 11 and the Turks and Caicos on November 18. The Vincentians’ next home match is March 22, 2019, versus Bonaire.

The format of the Nations League qualifiers entail that all 34 teams’ points will be aggregated and placed in order from 1 to 34.

The National League qualifiers, excluded the six teams from CONCACAF, which reached the hexagonal stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

They six – Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, USA and Trinidad and Tobago, will join the top six teams emerging from the qualifiers, to make up League A, which kicks off in September 2019.

The teams finishing positions, 7th to 22nd, would be placed in League B and those, 23rd to 34th, will make up League C of the Nations League.

The Nations League also serves as a qualifier for the Gold Cup, as the ten teams at the top of the heap and the six who were in the Hexagonal stage, will head to the 2019 Gold Cup in the USA, which has been expanded from 12 to 16 teams.

SVG’s Starting XI versus Nicaragua: Lemus Christopher, Kevin Francis (Jalen Miller- 45th minute), Jahvin Sutherland, Joseph Douglas, Joel Quashie, Chevel Cunningham, Myron Samuel, Wendell Cuffy (Diel Spring- 45th minute), Nazir Mc Burnette(captain), Azinho Solomon (Trivis Fraser-69th minute).

Substitutes not used: Kevan Henry, Jahvan Peters, Brad Richards, Akeem Williams, Dennis Prescott, Zenroy Lee, Jahvan Peters.