(ABOVE) Barbados (pictured) celebrates after scoring against visiting St. Vincent & the Grenadines in an international friendly on March 8, 2015, in Bridgetown.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Tevin Slater struck late to earn visiting St Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) a thrilling 2-2 draw against Barbados on Sunday night at the National Stadium, completing their two-game friendly series.
The Vincentians had led on three minutes through Juma Gilkes, but fell behind after Hadan Holligan equalised in the 12th minute and Romario Harewood doubled Barbados’ lead five minutes later.
After the break, Barbados missed on several opportunities to extend its advantage, while Slater clinically provided the punishing finish in the 86th minute.
SVG head coach Cornelius Huggins believed his side should have taken full honours.
“I think we deserved to win that game,” he said. “We had several opportunities that we should have capitalised on, but, all in all, we have seen plenty positives and the negatives we can go back home and work on.
“One of the main things we need to work on fitness. I think that is key, along with the roles and responsibilities of some of the players. But we have to work a lot on fitness because a lot of the players pulled up [during the game].”
Meanwhile, Barbados’ technical director Marcos Falopa said the game had allowed him to assess the squad properly, especially with just two weeks remaining ahead of the opening 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“It was a very hard game, but we expected that,” remarked the Brazilian. “Their team is very strong with their possession of the ball and are very counter-attacking and are strong physically. But again, our team showed a strong reaction, but at the end of the day they showed some mistakes, which we have to correct.
“I expected to win the game, but that is the game of football. Sometimes when you play, they score and then you score. In the second half they were very counter-attacking…they found the spaces and scored the goal.”
The Barbadians fell behind early, when Gilkes collected a pass played across the face of the goal and tucked in from close range.
However, the host quickly found its stride and was back on level terms soon afterward. Captain Mario Harte squared a ball across the area for Holligan to score with a diving header from two yards, following miscommunication between goalkeeper Lemus Christopher and his backline.
Christopher was then culpable in Barbados’ second goal, as his clearance found Harewood, who easily slotted the ball home.
The second half proved an open affair with both teams going close, before Slater ran on to the end of Emerald George’s defence-splitting through-ball, to beat goalkeeper Dario Weir four minutes from time.
Barbados won the first friendly 3-1 on Friday.