After holding Belize to a 0-0 draw back in June at home, Barbados were unable to pull out the win they were looking for when they took on Belize on their turf for the return leg of a two-match international friendly. Playing on Saturday night at the Ambergris Stadium in Belize, a late goal from Krisean Lopez gave the hosts what they needed to take the victory gain the edge in the series.
After going for most of the game goalless, both teams continued to take shot after shot in the exciting exchange. It was not until the 79th minute that Lopez got the ball past Barbados' Jason Boxill to clinch the 1-0 win.
Speaking after the game, Barbados Football Association Technical Director Ahmed Mohamed, it was said that although it was not the result he wanted, his team still played well. “We didn't use the opportunities that we had. At the end of the day, we should have won that game at least 3-1. We had more chances than the opponent. But it was a good experience. The team did very well and I could see that the players were very disappointed because they knew it was a game to win.” he said.
Going on to note that in this game, unlike the game back in June, Belize were able to enlist the services of all their international players, Mohamed said that his boys did well but needed to finish. “Not to forget that the Belize players were there as well and they didn't make life easy, but the team played very well but it was a simple mistake that caused us that goal and we need to work on the final third. We need to get better there.”
Calling the conditions hot and sticky in the night time match, Mohamed said that his team did well on the physical front but need work, especially if they are expected to be at least competitive against Jamaica in Barbados on August 20th. “We are ready for Jamaica. This does not change our plan. We consider all our opponents equal. It doesn't matter who is playing against us. We know they are stronger than us but we do not fear them – we do respect them. This loss will not stop us from doing our work. We are ready for that game. We need to work on our final third.”
Despite feeling pangs of disappointment due to the loss, Mohamed is still pleased with the progress achieved by the team. “In the past, we were conceding a lot of goals in the beginning of the game and now that is a thing of the past. Our defence is good, our midfield is good, the only problem that we have at the moment is in the final third. The chances are there. There is just something on us at the moment that keeps us from scoring.” He then went on to say the national side was made up of players who plied their trade in the top-four teams in the Barbados Premier League, making the forwards all prolific scorers in their own right, and as such the failure to transition seamlessly from club set-up to national set-up could only be mental. “The problem is more mental than technical. We are in front of the bar, we are coming in the five-metre box. It is just those two little steps that are missing. It is more of a mental thing than a technical thing.” Mohamed said.