BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – St. Kitts & Nevis notched two second-half goals to cap a strong performance and defeat Barbados 3-1 in an international friendly at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex on Sunday night.
With scores locked 1-1 at the half-time break, Trinidad & Tobago-based midfielder Devaughn Elliot struck early on the resumption to put the visitor ahead, before Kiamaree Rogers produced a brilliant finish deep in stoppage time.
The victory was the third on the trot for St. Kitts after getting past Turks & Caicos Islands (12-4 on aggregate) in the first round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March.
Barbados’ technical director Marcos Falopa, however, believes that his youthful squad still needs time to continue building.
“We have to use this like a lesson,” said the 66-year-old, Brazilian. “You learn things when you lose. Another thing I found was our team needed to be better prepared physically. Barbados are not perfect, but the way they play, they have a good future.
“For me, the game was motivation. I liked the game and I liked the score. We have some players who need a little more conditioning, but this match has shown for us that we need something more.”
St Kitts head coach Shavon Douglas was not surprised by the margin, especially since he has emphasized finishing in training.
“As part of what we’re trying to focus on is basically trying to score more goals as often as possible,” he explained. “That way, if we’re able to put way games convincingly, it takes a lot of pressure off the defence and the team as a whole, so we were really looking for goals. Especially in the first half, they didn’t come then, but we were persistent and patient and once the openings came, we executed well and put away those goals.”
Following a scrappy start, St Kitts took the lead in the 29th minute, when the Trinidad & Tobago-based forward Kennedy Isles capitalised on uneven defending from a corner kick to bury a right-footed volley past goalkeeper Keon Harding.
The lead held for only ten minutes as Mario Harte equalised from close range, drilling a right-sided cross from Arantes Lawrence past custodian Jamal Francis.
The half-time deadlock was broken seven minutes after the break thanks to excellent work from Isles, who beat his marker and crossed for Elliott to net with a left-footed drive.
St Kitts then took control of the game with Dajhal Kelly twice denied by Harding, before Rogers struck in the final minute of stoppage time, smashing a superb volley into the upper right-hand corner off quickly taken short corner.
Barbados used the match as preparation for the next round of their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying campaign, where they are scheduled to play Aruba. (SAT) While St.Kitts-Nevis used the match as their warm-up for thei 2nd round World Cup Qualifier against El Salvador in June.