A late goal by Emile Saimovici playing his second international game for Barbados ensured a crucial 1-0 victory against Anguilla last night, during their second Group D match of the CONCACAF Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Playing at the Félix Sánchez Olympic Stadium in the Dominican Republic, midfielder Saimovici brought much joy to Barbados’ bench in the 81st minute. A well-placed corner kick compliments forward Ryan Trotman was met by a powerful header from Saimovici for the match-winning goal.
A native of Vancouver, Saimovici is the son of a Romanian-Canadian father and a Barbadian mother. He played at Clark College in Vancouver and Centennial College in Toronto, where he was named an OCAA league all-star in 2013–14. He has played in both Canada and the United States.
Even before the start of last night’s encounter, senior national head coach Russell Latapy said he expected his men to come away with those three crucial points.
However, while they did deliver on that win, Anguilla did not make life easy for Barbados. Neither side troubled the scoreboard during the first 45 minutes.
It was not the most attractive first half especially from Barbados who were at times complacent and several opportunities went abegging. While the Bajan Tridents’ objective was to come away with a convincing win, they simply did not press the Anguillan defence hard enough.
Coach Latapy made a few changes going into the second half when national captain and attacking midfielder Rashad Jules along with defender Rashad Smith were replaced in the 46th minute.
Coming on to replace the duo were attackers Ackeel Applewaithe and Niall Reid-Stephens who brought a bit more attacking firepower in the final third for the Tridents.
Barbados upped the pace somewhat but they just were unable to get past a resistant Anguilla defence. The Anguillans had two shots at goal that did not translate into goals while Barbados had a mere one opportunity at goal and ensured it counted.
In the 78th minute, Barbados should have been awarded a penalty. Anguilla defender Tafari Smith handed the ball inside the area and Mexico-born referee Diego Montaño failed to make the call.
But three minutes later justice prevailed for the Bajan Tridents who were scheduled to return home sometime today. Last night’s win should bring some relief to Barbados who lost their opening match 1-0 to Panama.
In other qualifying action, Guyana rebounded from their drubbing to Trinidad and Tobago in their first game to thrash the Bahamas 4-0 yesterday evening and gather their first points of the CONCACAF qualifiers.
Only one up at half-time at Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez, the Jaguars produced a strong second half surge to crush the Bahamians in the Group F contest.
Terence Vancooten, who plays for English League Two side Stevenage scored in the eighth minute, a margin which remained intact until the break.
The floodgates opened afterwards, however, the United Kingdom-based Kadell Daniel doubling his side’s advantage in the 54th minute before 17-year-old Omari Glasgow came off the bench in the 70th minute to find the back of the nets five minutes later.
Israel-based Emery Welshman capped off the scoring in the 81st minute as Guyana moved to three points but remained third behind leaders St Kitts and Nevis (6 points) and Trinidad and Tobago (4 points).
St Vincent and the Grenadines also picked up their first points when they brushed aside British Virgin Islands 3-0 in Group C at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad.
United States-based Oalex Anderson put the Vincentians ahead in the 10th minute before Zidane Sam added a second ten minutes later.
Up 2-0 at the half, SVG never got their third until four minutes from the end when 82nd minute substitute Azinho Solomon netted in the closing stages.
Meanwhile, there were crushing 5-0 victories for Bermuda and Belize who made light work of Bermuda and Turks and Caicos Islands respectively.
In Group B at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, Bermuda were propelled by a brace from Kane Crichlow, currently on the books at English Championship side Watford.
He opened the scoring in the 36th minute and capped it off in the 80th, with Jaylon Bather, captain Dante Leverock and 62nd minute substitute Knory Scott netting in between.
And in Group E at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal, Belize got a double from Carlos Bernárdez who scored on either side of the break, to run easy winners.
Hosts Grenada were also in winner’s row in Group A, Saydrel Lewis’s goal in the 33rd minute breaking the deadlock with US Virgin Islands at the Kirani James Athletics Stadium. (ML/CMC)