WILLEMSTAD, Curacao (CMC) – Bermuda national coach Kyle Lightbourne said he was bitterly disappointed with his side’s performance after they lost 3-1 to Aruba on Sunday night in their opening CONCACAF Nations League qualifying match at the Stadion Ergilio Hato.
Aruba are 10 places below Bermuda in the FIFA rankings but while Bermuda had plenty of possession, they were outgunned by Aruba, who put away their chances and showed greater defensive mettle after the game was switched to Curacao because Aruba’s home ground was not available.
“It wasn’t a good night at the office. We got off to possibly the worst start, 2-0 down after 11 minutes. We tried to get a foot in the game and got it back to 2-1. We probably had a little bit more possession than them but possession doesn’t win games,” Lightbourne said.
“In the first half they capitalised on their chances. It was very disappointing from that standpoint. I just told the guys, ‘If you don’t know that we are in a competition, you do know now’. Nobody is going to give us anything, we have to work hard to get it.
“It’s always a difficult spot when you lose, especially when you feel your team can play 90 per cent better than how they actually played. So we have to take this one and come back fighting.”
Danté Leverock and Willie Clemons, who both play in Europe, were among the Bermuda players who took to social media afterwards to express their disappointment.
“Each player, including myself, needs to take a long look in the mirror,” Leverock said. “A poor performance in a Bermuda shirt is never OK.”
Clemons said: “Definitely not the result we wanted. It’s disappointing as more could have been done and needs to be done, myself included.”
Ronald Gomez and Raymond Baten, with a penalty, put Aruba 2-0 up before striker Jonté Smith reduced the arrears before the break.
Aruba restored their two-goal advantage through Erik Santos in the 50th minute.
Bermuda will play back-to-back home matches against Sint Maarten and El Salvador, in October and November, before finishing the qualifying campaign with an away tie against Dominican Republic in March.
Those games will determine the three divisions for the Nations League, which starts in September 2019.