Cayman Islands U-20 women move on in World Cup

| 24/10/2011

(CNS): Despite losing out to a 93rd minute goal to Trinidad and Tobago in their final Group B CFU U20 World Cup Qualifying game the Cayman Islands U20 Women’s National team will advance to the next stage of the qualification process.  After an impressive 4:0 win over the hosts Suriname, Cayman faced a much tougher task Thursday night at the Essed Stadium in Paramaribo, Suriname. Trinidad and Tobago boasted a number of players in the their starting eleven who have World Cup experience as the core of this team played in the U17 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals.

This experience was evident as Trinidad started brightly, possessing and moving the ball very well, although all their possession counted for nothing as they failed to create any clear cut chances in front of the Cayman goal.

The 0:0 score line at the half time, summed up the game at this point, there were very few chances created as both defensive lines stood strong. The second half continued as the first finished, Cayman’s defensive shape was perfect, Captain Jessica Ebanks and fellow centre half Tacita Berry were solid at the back. Cayman Goalkeeper Emily Kelly was called into action in the 71st minute producing a great save to keep the score level.

The game was destined for a draw when in the 93rd minute Cayman failed to clear their lines and they were severely punished, a low strike skipped off the moist surface and made its way past Cayman keeper Emily Kelly putting Trinidad and Tobago 1:0 up. Cayman barely had time to respond as the final whistle was blown leaving the Caymanian girls dejected on the field.

Head Coach of Trinidad and Tobago Marlon Charles left his bench and went straight to the Cayman players who sat on the field totally deflated after fighting so hard for 90 minutes to give up a goal in time added on. Coach Charles commented that he wanted to give praise to the Cayman girls, he commented on how he had never seen in his life a country with such a small population like the Cayman Islands perform like that. 
After taking time to reflect the ladies boarded their flight home in Suriname this morning knowing that there job was done, and the disappointment of giving up a last minute goal was put in the memory bank.

The 4:0 Victory over Suriname and closely contested 1:0 loss to Trinidad and Tobago currently keeps Cayman top of Group B with 3 points and a goal difference of +3. The remaining fixture was played in between the hosts Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago Saturday. 

Cayman Captain Jessica Ebanks commented on how proud she was to lead her young team through this first stage of qualification.  “The Trinidad and Tobago game showed us the level of football that we want to aspire too, we matched a very good team and I personally gained a lot from the Trinidad loss, looking forward we are focused and ready for the next round,” she said.

The Cayman Islands Women’s U20 National Team returned home Friday and the girls will be given a week off to recover and spend time with their families before preparing for the next stage of World Cup Qualification which will run from December 5 – 12. The location is yet to be decided by the Caribbean Football Union.

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