The Men’s National football team put on one of their best showings ever on the international stage, but they came up just short of a major upset in their world cup qualifying match against Panama the top ranked team in group D on Sunday.
Forced to play their home fixture in the Dominican Republic because of the covid-19 pandemic, Dominica entered the match, knowing that all odds were against them, and knowing that they were up against a team that had made it all the way to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Panama started the game ranked at number 78 in the FIFA World Rankings, while Dominica at 184 out of the 210 playing nations.
The National team started off brightly and weathered the early Panama attack. The team defended well as a unit, and kept Panama at bay. Unfortunately, they conceded a goal in the 28th minute when Briel Thomas turned a cross whipped across the face of goal back into his own net.
The National team did not drop their shoulders and continued to fight. The scores remained 1-nil until the 82nd minute when substitute Audel Laville produced a moment of magic to grab the equalizer for Dominica. He won the ball back deep in the Panama half and then fired a left footed volley that beat the diving goal keeper.
Dominica looked set to hold on for a historic draw, but conceded a heart breaking second own goal in the 86th minute of play when Travist Joseph’s desperate diving effort to prevent the ball from falling to the feet of the on rushing striker, Jose Fajardo was unsuccessful and it got past Glenson Prince in goal.
The Full Time score: Panama 2, Dominica 1.
Head Coach of the team, Rajesh Latchoo, says despite the loss, Dominica showed the world that they are capable of competing against the big teams.
Coach Latchoo and Audel Laville spoke with DFA Media after the match (videos courtesy of DFA Media).
Dominica has been placed in Group D of the Concacaf Qualifiers alongside Panama, The Dominican Republic, Barbados, and Anguilla.
Group results so far:
Dominican Republic – 1
Dominica – 0
Panama – 1
Barbados – 0
Dominican Republic – 6
Anguilla – 0
Panama – 2
Dominica – 1
Group D Standings
Dominican Republic – 6 points
Panama – 6 points
Barbados – 3 points
Dominica – 0 points
Anguilla – 0 points