‘King Solomon’ rescues Guyana … Golden Jaguars squeeze past Puerto Rico 1 – 0 to top Group 5 in historic win
A 64th minute goal by Alpha United defender King Solomon Austin, propelled Guyana to a 1 – 0 win over Puerto Rico tonight at the Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, when the two met in the final Group 5 match in the 2016/2017 CFU Caribbean Cup.
The win for Guyana means that the Golden Jaguars will enter enter the second round of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) marquee event as the top seeded team from Group 5, having played undefeated in their two matches.
It was the second meeting between the two countries in 23 years. In the 1993 Caribbean Cup, then known as the Shell Cup, Guyana fell 2 – 0 to Puerto Rico at the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) Ground.
Guyana started with Anthony Whyte (GK), Samuel Cox, Quincy Adams, King Solomon Austin, Kester Jacobs, Dwight Peters, Christopher Nurse, Tichard Joseph, Walter Moore, Neil Danns and Gregory Richardson.
Devon Millington, Eon Alleyne, Vurlon Mills, Marcel Barrington, Brandon Beresford and Clive Nobrega were the substitutes.
Head Coach Jamaal Shabazz made a few changes from his side that won their opening game 7 – 0 against Anguilla at the Guyana National Stadium, Fruta Conquers defender Eon Alleyne with Finland-based Walter Moore , while Austin made his tournament debut when he was brought into the starting 11 for Vurlon Mills.
Austin was playing in only his third international game for Guyana, having made his debut in the Golden Jaguars’ 1 – 0 loss to Suriname at the Andre Kamperveen Stadium in April of 2015.
With Shabazz not being being able to make the journey to the US territory, his assistant Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover was at the helm as Guyana controlled the bulk of the possession in the first half of the high-tempo encounter.
However, unfortunately, the Golden Jaguars were unable to pierced Puerto Rico’s net, though forward Gregory Richardson came the closest to scoring, but his shot missed by inches as the two ended the first 45 minutes goalless.
The second half saw a more rejuvenated Puerto Rico team on the hunt for their second win over Guyana, but, resolute defending and the Spanish speaking Island’s lack of a quality forward resulted in most of their chances either falling easily in the gloves of Anthony Whyte, or, just barely missing the goal.
Thanks to Danns, the Golden Jaguars were tidy in the midfield as the Bolton Wanderers player was once again superb in his ball distribution and controlling the pace of the Game, but his unselfish plays could not have been converted in goals for Guyana.
It took Austin, 30, to clinically timed his calmly placed effort to put the game in Guyana’s favour.
Puerto Rico had the Golden Jaguars on their heels but once again, the lack of a quality player and a bit of tidy defending and goalkeeping, ensured that the score was unchanged and Guyana held on for the win.