IT was another impressive performance from Guyana, this time beating rivals, Suriname, 3-1 to finish at the top of Group A and undefeated in the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championships Qualifiers which ended last evening at the National Track and Field Centre.
Tiandi Smith opened the home side’s account in the seventh minute, while Tori DeNobrega and Captain Brianne Desa scored in the 12th and 35th minutes respectively.
For Smith and Desa, their goals against Suriname marked their second for the tournament.
Dr Ivan Joseph made one change to the lineup from the three previous games Guyana played, replacing Audrey Narine with DeNobrega.
Smith, Desa, Kiana Khedoo, Jade Vuyfhuis, Anessa O’Brien (GK), Rylee Traicoff, Jessica Myers, Nailah Rowe, Jenea Knight and Serena McDonald were the other players in the starting eleven.
With almost two of the three stands at the facility filled, the girls were cheered for their every play, but it was home town girl, Tiandi Smith, who brought the already vocal crowd to its feet when she latched onto a through-ball just on the edge of the 18-yard box and placed here well-time effort past Suriname’s Deinthy Schooland in goal.
It didn’t take long after for goal number two to come; this time it was DeNobrega who would end a sensational run with an excellent goal.
With Guyana pressing forward, Suriname was forced to play deep as Smith, DeNobrega and Knight, with good ball service coming from Khedoo and McDonald in the midfield, kept the pressure for Guyana, but it didn’t result in goals.
In the 35th minute, the Lady Jags captain, Desa, showed off her shooting skills when she took a free- kick from just over the Centre line that was hit too hard and on target for Schoonland to handle.
Guyana made one substitute in the first half, bringing in Horicia Adams for Khedoo.
The first-half ended 3-0 for Guyana and things seemed as if the crowd would’ve been treated to more goals in the second stanza, but Suriname had other plans.
Upon resumption, Suriname signalled their intention of a come-back when their leading scorer in the tournament, Orthea Riley, rocketed a shot on goal that had beaten O’Brien but came off the crossbar, similar to two instances in the first-half.
On the next play, Riley sent another shot on goal that again came off the crossbar but this time, Tryfosa Sastrokromo was there to pat it home.
Sastrokromo’s goal in the 48th-minute marked the first time Guyana conceded a goal in the tournament.
Guyana then turned things up a bit through Smith, Knight and Vuyfhuis, but the aforementioned players would squander their chances, especially Smith.
Smith was lacklustre in front the goal which forced the crowd to call for her to be substituted but that did not happen.
“She needs the playing time; if she doesn’t play now, when will she have the chance? No local football is being played in Guyana for her to get these minutes, so this was her time to get some games and learn from her mistakes,” said head coach, Dr Joseph, explaining to Chronicle Sport why he didn’t replace Smith.
Behind Desa, Guyana’s air-tight defending continued for much of the second half, but Suriname was still able to make some run on goal but with no success.
After the game, Dr Joseph commended the ladies from both sides for a well-played game.