By Flynn Bush
As a Caymanian, it is always good to hear of some success or accomplishment by our national teams, in any sport. Sunday night, the Cayman Islands National Football Team provided us with something worthwhile to discuss, and be proud of. In a hard-fought match, Cayman managed to emerge victorious.
At the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, our national stadium, the two teams took to the field; each wanting to prove its dominance. This was the second match for each team in the inaugural Nations League; Cayman won their first match 2-0 against USVI the previous week. It was clear from the opening whistle that this match had the potential to become an “instant classic.” The teams did not disappoint.
Cayman drew first blood, as Michael Martin found the back of the net in the fifth minute of play. Then, it seemed that the fight was on. With each team working hard to create chances, Barbados managed to take advantage of one of their own, as Akeem Hill drove home the game-tying goal in the fourteenth minute.
For the rest of the first half, it was a situation where each team tried out different attacks to gain an advantage; and create a goal-scoring opportunity. Each team created some, but neither team was able to capitalize on them. So, the teams went into the locker room at halftime, deadlocked at 1-1.
As the second half began, the struggle continued. However, the score changed when Jonah Ebanks rose above the opposition and drove home a header in the seventieth minute. The crowd erupted. The jubilation was cut short just four minutes later, though, as Rashad Jules equalized for Barbados.
Not wanting to be outdone, and showing much heart, the Cayman team got right back on the attack. Only one minute later, Jorel Bellafonte pounced on a mistake by a Barbados defender and reacquainted the ball with the back of the Barbados net. Cayman was once again on top; and fifteen minutes later, the final whistle brought the game to an end. The Cayman Islands are now atop their group; having beat the favored Barbados, and will go into their next game with a definite chance to win the group outright. They will be travelling to Anguilla on October 12, where they will face St. Martin who sits at the bottom of the group currently.