In their final match of the 10th Pan American Junior Championship, Barbados defeated Uruguay on penalties after a 3-3 stalemate to take seventh place in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday.
Following their failure to qualify for the championship Pools, Barbados beat Brazil 4 – 3 and Puerto Rico 6 – 2 in the positional pools, earning the right to face Uruguay in the seventh place playoff.
Uruguay had also missed out on the championship pools, and they got to the seventh place playoff game by defeating Venezuela 4 – 1, Guatemala 6 – 0 and Jamaica 3 – 1.
Just two minutes into the match, Barbados would go down 1 – 0, when Uruguayan striker Alexis Lopez put one in after a fast break from a failed Bajan attack. For the next 34 minutes the Barbados lads applied pressure to the Uruguayan defence, forcing a green card from Uruguay’s captain Joaquin Rodriguez in the 26th minute, and limiting their opponent’s attacking opportunities to almost none.
In the 34th minute Barbados’ Che Warner scored the equaliser from a penalty corner. Uruguay would take advantage of a quick restart and forced Barbados into a series of penalty corners. On their third attempt, Uruguay’s Lopez would claim his second goal of the half, sending the game into a half-time score of Uruguay 2 – Barbados 1.
Just six minutes after the restart, Barbados would earn their own quick series of penalty corners, and it would again be Warner to score and tie the match 2 – 2. Play continued with both teams trying to pull ahead, trading possession in mid-field but failing to breach each other’s defences.
With twenty-three minutes left in the match, Barbados made the most of a fast break, resulting from a brilliant circle defence, and earned a penalty corner. Kamar Bovell confidently put it over the goal line and took the score to Barbados 3, Uruguay 2. Four minutes later, Barbados would concede another penalty corner that Uruguay’s Mateo Pereiro made the most of and scored past Barbados goalie Keenan Knight, levelling the score at 3 – 3.
Barbados continued the attacking pressure with no result and Uruguay seemed to find it difficult to get over the half-line. With nether team really able to create scoring chances, the game would head into a fast-paced fifteen minutes of golden goal extra time, which would also expire with no result.
With the match still at a 3 – 3 after extra-time, it would progress into penalty shootouts. In world hockey the shootout competition has recently replaced the penalty stroke. It involves five attackers being given 8 seconds to engage the opponent’s goalkeeper one-on-one, in an attempt to score a goal.
Taking the first attempt for Barbados was Akeem Rudder, who gave them the early 1 – 0 lead. Also scoring their attempts were Justin Catlin and the talented Che Warner. Uruguay would score two of their own from 4 chances, and with the score at 3 – 2 Barbados, would have one more attempt to stay in the game.
It came down to Barbados’ starting goalkeeper Keenan Knight, who made an amazing save and clear, to see off the last attempt from Uruguay’s captain Joaquin Rodriguez. This meant that Barbados took the game and 7th Place, 3 – 2 after the penalty shootout.
In the other final matches, Trinidad and Tobago defeated Mexico 4 – 3 (after extra time) for 5th place, Chile defeated USA 3 – 2 (after extra time) for the bronze medal and Argentina defeated Canada 3 – 2 for the gold medal. With their results, Argentina and Canada qualify for the FIH 10th Men’s Junior World Cup, with Chile being the reserve team.
During the medal presentation, Barbados were called to the podium for the Fair Play Award, normally given in recognition of good sporting behaviour and sportsmanship, for the duration of the tournament. Awardees are normally chosen by popular vote among the tournament’s top officials.
Warner also recorded the fifth highest goal tally of the tournament, scoring nine goals, six shy of the tournament’s leading goal-scorer, Gonzalo Peillat from Argentina.