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Digicel Cup Game 15: Netherlands Antilles 2 Guyana 3

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Guyana started the match with their coaches post match comments from game one ringing in their ears as they attacked with great pace and determination.  There was three changes to their starting line-up, the most notable being the inclusion of one of their stars from Miami FC, central defender John Rodrigues.

The Golden Jaguars got their just reward for their early pressure on 14 minutes when they finished a scintillating passing move that originated down the left wing, Moore collected a pass close to the touchline, played a good ball to Abrams who in turn placed a perfect through ball on a plate for Dwight Peters to side foot the ball, from just inside the penalty area, past the on rushing Pisas in the Netherlands Antilles goal.

Guyana continued to pile on the pressure and created two very good chances in quick succession, the first fell to Rodrigues but the keeper made a very good save from close range and from the resulting corner a last ditch challenge from Genaro Cicilia saved what was sure to be a goal from Abrams.

Then on 25 minutes Peters of Guyana brilliantly controlled a cross from the left on his chest and fired a shot on the half-volley only to be denied by again by Pisas in the Netherlands goal. Guyana was in total control at this point and obviously hungry for more goals, firing a succession of crosses into the box.

Netherlands Antilles was finding it hard to get any decent possession going. It was nearly by default that a half chance fell to Kenneth Kunst.  Guyana took a quick free kick off a Netherlands player who was not the required distance from the ball and the ball fell kindly to Kunst, he showed good pace and control to create a shooting chance that went just over the cross bar.  It may have only been a half chance but it did demonstrate that they could be dangerous going forward.

On the stroke of half time, Abrams made amends for some earlier misses when he finished a parried shot from the keeper. Dwain Jacobs went on a run deep in to the Netherlands half before letting fly with a good shot, goalkeeper Pisas got a hand to the ball but could only stir it as far as Abrams who had the simple task of a close tap in. The half ended with the Guyanese two goals up and well in control.

The second half saw a resurgent and energetic display from the Netherlands Antilles team who unlike the first half took the fight to Guyana. It was clear that the Netherlands side came out with a plan to go at the Guyana defense with a more adventurous approach. Initially this created more space for Guyana and 12 minutes into the half they stretched their lead when midfielder Walter Moore on a pass from Dwight Peters struck goal number three for the Jaguars.

Netherlands Antilles looked dead and buried at this stage, however, they showed great heart and desire as they kept coming at the Jaguars who may have eased off the throttle, perhaps thinking that they were sitting comfortably. Both teams made changes, and the alterations from the Netherlands side definitely added zest to their attack.  They were rewarded for their bravery with their first goal in the 74th from the penalty spot.

It was like a different team to the first half at this stage, as they began to dominate proceedings. The deficit was further reduced with 6 minutes remaining, substitute Giandro Steba with a well timed pass squared the ball to the waiting Kenneth Kunst at the top of the box who with the ensuing shot gave custodian Ronson Williams absolutely no chance

Abrams had an audacious attempt for Guyana from a good 40 yards that came agonisingly close to embarrassing the keeper who was way off his line. Guyana could have done with the insurance goal as right on the stroke of full-time the Netherlands could have drawn level but Williams in the Guyana goal managed to pull off an outstanding save that assured their progress to Stage 2 of the 2010 Digicel Cup.

What appeared a blow-out at one stage ended up being a highly entertaining encounter.  Netherlands Antilles must be admired for their fighting spirit and must wonder what might have been had they had a little more confidence in the first half.

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Written by jamarch