MANAGUA, Nicaragua - Nicaragua National Team Head Coach Henry Duarte was encouraged by what he saw from his team in their 3-1 comeback victory over Cuba on Thursday night in Managua.
A Yordan Santa Cruz goal in the 13' gave the Cubans the lead, but strikes from Carlos Chavarria (35'), Jaime Moreno (40') and Juan Barrera (71') earned a character-building win for the hosts.
"It showed that the National Team had that mindset and character to little by little get the rhythm of the match, control the ball and create chances down the flanks," said Duarte in his post-match press conference.
Thursday's contest along with a second friendly against Cuba on Sunday is all part of Nicaragua's preparation for 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying, which begins this fall with matches against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (September), Anguilla (October) and Haiti (November).
For defender Cyril Errington, Thursday's affair was the perfect reason as to why Nicaragua must take full advantage of these friendlies.
"At first we lacked concentration, we couldn't find each other, but we started to talk and later we played the match we wanted," said Errington in the post-match press conference. "We need opponents like these to continue growing."
Another chance will come on Sunday when the two sides will lock horns again, with Duarte planning to give minutes to players who did not feature on Thursday.
"We will make some changes, I will look for another alternative. I want to test out the center of defense. These matches are for experimenting," concluded Duarte.
NOTE: With his goal on Thursday night, Juan Barrera became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Nicaraguan National Team, with 11 goals.