After two losses BVI beats Belize 4-3 in CONCACAF U20 Championships

Callwood-Lacey
Azarni Callwood, left, scored the first two goals vs Belize and Johari Lacey scored the winner.

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway.

Azarni Callwood scored twice on Tuesday night in leading the BVI to a thrilling 4-3 victory over Belize in their first encounter in the CONCACAF U20 Championships, following losses to hosts Nicaragua and Cuba on Friday and Sunday.

Callwood scored from a penalty in the 37th minute to tie the game at 1-1. Two minutes later, Curtis Lane made it 2-1 off a header from a right corner. Then in traffic inside the 18-yard box, Callwood placed a laser to the right corner past the Belizean goalie in the 45+2, giving the BVI a 3-1 advantage at the half. It was his third goal of the tournament.

In the second half, Belize scored from two penalties four minutes apart—first in the 54th then in the 58th—to level the game at 3-3. Striker Johari Lacey converted a penalty in the 70th and BVI’s defense kept Belize out the nets and rode off with a 4-3 victory.  

The BVI was coming off a 2-1 loss to Cuba on Sunday in a game Callwood scored, after Friday’s 8-0 loss to hosts Nicaragua.

“After we played the first two games, the fellows recognized that we had enough that we can compete, so we asked them to complete what we finish building against Cuba, and we asked them to work as a unit, stay focused as much as possible,” Coach Clinton “Tinnie” Percival told Island Sun Sports. “We asked them to continue doing the things we asked them to do because we knew if we continue to do well, eventually we’ll get some success. I think they did that tonight and I’m really proud of them because they stuck to the plan, and we got the result.”

Percival said they’d asked the team not to give up an early goal, but they gave up one in the first 15 minutes. He said that he was proud that they continued to play and they eventually scored and kept the momentum to finish the first half up 3-1. During the break, he asked them not to get complacent because anybody with their backs against the wall will keep coming back at you.

“Unfortunately, when the second half started, we conceded two soft penalties and we brought them right back into the game, but again, the guys showed some resilience and continued to play hard and we finally got the goal we wanted to give us a 4-3 win,” he said. “It was really a tough last 10 minutes for the players, then again it shows that we have grit, they held out and we got the victory. So I’m really proud of the players tonight again.”