LAMBE SCORES FOR BERMUDA AGAINST FRENCH GUIANA
Lambe strikes to keep Bermuda’s hopes alive
by Stephen Wright, Published Mar 28, 2016
French Guiana 1
Bermuda kept their hopes of advancing to the second round of the Caribbean Cup alive after coming from behind to beat French Guiana at the National Stadium on Saturday night.
It was left to Reggie Lambe, Bermuda’s most experienced player in the absence of Nahki Wells, to supply the winning goal with a close-range strike in the 75th minute after a superb breakaway by Zeiko Lewis.
Tre Ming put the home side on level terms just before half-time to cancel out Rhudy Evens’s opener in the 36th minute, after beating Bermuda’s offside trap to give French Guiana the lead.
Andrew Bascome’s side must now wait on the outcome of French Guiana’s home game against Cuba on Tuesday to determine whether they reach the next round as one of the top two teams from group three.
Bermuda and Cuba are level on three points, with Bascome’s side the only team to have completed their preliminary qualifying matches, having lost 2-1 away to Cuba last Tuesday.
“I’m very happy with the performance and most of the credit has to go to the players,” Bascome, the head coach, said.
“We just had to play because we knew our tactics and how we were going to play. We knew we must attack and knew we had to play positive.
“We have a good group of guys who take instructions well. But we must also continue to get better.”
Bermuda carved out the first chance when Justin Donawa, playing as an uncustomary right back, was put through on goal by Keishen Bean, the Bermuda captain, but Donawa’s low shot was blocked by the feet of goalkeeper Donovan Leon.
At the other end, Kevin Rimane, the Paris Saint-Germain B midfielder, flashed a shot just wide of Dale Eve’s right-hand post as the visiting side started to move the ball with precision and purpose.
With a team boasting several Europe-based professionals, including Ludovic Baal of French league side Rennes and Roy Contout of Belgium Pro League’s Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz, French Guiana seemed to catch Bermuda by surprise with their physicality and comfort in possession.
Conversely, Bermuda appeared a little edgy, particularly in defence, with Donawa twice giving the ball away in dangerous positions and Jaylon Bather being sloppily caught in possession.
The visiting side were forced into an early substitution when defender Josue Albert was stretchered off, being replaced by Marvin Torvic, but it hardly affected their early dominance and they were unfortunate not to take the lead on the half-hour mark.
Gabriel Pigree, the lone striker, unleashed a powerful left-footed shot from about 30 yards that appeared to bounce over the line having come off the crossbar with Eve well beaten.
French Guiana, who beat Honduras 3-1 in the first leg of a Concacaf Gold Cup qualifier in March, before losing 3-0 in the away leg, took the lead when Evens was released on goal before calmly finishing past the onrushing Eve.
Falling behind seemed to spark some life into Bermuda, who equalised in the 42nd minute after Lewis drove through the middle before hitting a low fizzing effort from distance that Leon could only parry. Tre Ming, the Bermuda midfielder, was quick to follow up Lewis’s shot and managed to delicately squeeze the ball underneath the goalkeeper’s body.
French Guiana started the second half with attacking intent, with Eve making a fine one-handed save to deny Pigree’s header from a corner kick, although Bermuda’s midfield triumvirate of Roger Lee, Drewonde Bascome and Ming remained busy biting at their opponents’ heels.
Bermuda seemed more than happy to soak up the pressure and hit their opponents on the break, using the pace of their wide players Lewis and Lambe.
Lewis in particular was causing the visiting side problems with his quick feet and trickery - just as he did in the home leg of Bermuda’s World Cup qualifier against Guatemala in June - once again delivering a performance that suggests he is capable of playing at a professional level.
On 57 minutes, Bascome introduced Jonté Smith, a surprise substitute having scored Bermuda’s consolation goal against Cuba, with the England-based striker offering his side greater pace and latitude up front.
French Guiana were still threatening and almost restored their lead when substitute Stephane Privat had a goal-bound shot well blocked by Kilian Elkinson, the Bermuda left back.
Smith, who has been in prolific form for English non-League side Lewes this season, then headed over from Lambe’s pinpoint cross when perhaps he should have done better as Bermuda began to take control of the game.
Lewis, at the heart of so much of Bermuda’s good work, was the chief orchestrator of his side’s winner, picking up the ball and outpacing the French Guiana defence before rounding goalkeeper Leon and squaring for Lambe to snatch the victory.
It was arguably the most convincing Bermuda performance since Bascome’s appointment in 2012, with the head coach and his players now facing a nervous wait to discover whether they will continue their Caribbean Cup journey in May.
Bermuda (Ming 44, Lambe 78)
French Guiana: (Evans 36)
Bermuda (4-1-2-3): D Eve - ?J Donawa, K Elkinson (sub: J Raynor, 80min), D Leverock, J Bather - R Lee - D Bascome (sub: M Warren, 74), W Ming - ?K Bean (sub: J Smith, 57), R Lambe, Z Lewis. Substitutes not used: L Simmons, D Bell, J Minors, D Ming, N Griffith. Booked: Lee, Ming.
French Guiana: (4-3-3): D Leon - A Soubervie, J Legrand, J Albert (sub: M Torvic, 16), G Lescot - Ludovic Baal, K Rimane (sub: S Privat, 45), Loic Baal? - R Evens (sub: A Eric, 60), G Pigree, R Contout. Substitutes not used: J Apagui, G Marigard, T Toupouti, M Edwige. Booked: Rimane, Evens.
Referee: T Taylor (Barbados).
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