BELIZE CITY, Tue. Mar. 30, 2021– Belize rebounded from a 2-nil loss to powerhouse Haiti last Wednesday, to register a 5-nil victory this evening over Turks and Caicos Islands in their second Group E match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifiers at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.
It remained scoreless for almost all of first half, but Belize got on the scorecard just a few seconds before the halftime whistle through Carlos Bernardez (45+3’), a redirected shot from the edge of the eighteen yard box that drained into the low left corner, beating Turks and Caicos goalkeeper Pendieno Brooks. (TNC’s feed was not the best today, so it was sometimes difficult to recognize the players.)
Belize did not exactly “drill” Turks and Caicos in second half, but the Jaguars displayed superior ball control and tight defensive marking that forced a number of turnovers which proved costly to Turks and Caicos. Belize got two early goals in second half, a shot from the rights side by young Jesse August (47’) past the oncoming keeper, and from the left side by Carlos Bernardez (48’) for his second goal. Turks and Caicos managed to get off a couple long shots which were easily handled by Woodrow West in goal for Belize, who got another goal late in second half, a header by Deshawon Nembhard (81’) off a corner from the left side by Nahjib Guerrra. Belize completed the 5-nil sweep in injury time when August’s shot from the right side was deflected by the goalkeeper, and Belize’s all-time leading goalscorer Deon McCaulay (90+1’), who played an attacking central midfield role today, was in position to put it away.
Turks & Caicos lost 7-nil to Nicaragua last week, and with only one team advancing from the group, today’s win gives Belize at least a mathematical chance, with one game remaining against Nicaragua in June. St. Lucia having withdrawn from the Qualifiers, Belize has only one game remaining, against Nicaragua; Haiti has games with Turks & Caicos and with Nicaragua. (See the updated Group E standings below.)
Belize Jaguars line-up included: goalkeeper Woodrow West; defenders Deshawon Nembhard, Evral Trapp, Asrel Sutherland and Collin Westby; midfielders Angelo Cappello (Nahjib Guerra at 56’), Nana Mensah (Jose Urbina at 61’) and Jordy Polanco (Ean Lewis at 70’); and forwards Carlos Bernardez (Desmond Wade at 70’), Deon McCaulay and Krisean Lopez (Jesse August at 46’). Head coach – Dale Pelayo; assistant coach – Marvin Ottley.
Through the two Qualifier matches this past week, all but two substitute goalkeepers – Isaac Castillo and Eithon Wagner – have seen some action on the field for the Jaguars.
There is work to do in preparation for our June meeting with Nicaragua; but it is a good start for our Belize National “A” Team after one year of no competitive games in Belize.
Thanks for the big victory, guys! You made our Easter better. Belize forever!!
The Jaguars are scheduled to return home at the Philip Goldson International Airport tomorrow, Wednesday, at 12:51 p.m.
Stay safe and blessed this Easter, Belizeans!