MANAGUA, Nicaragua - The Nicaraguan National Team were able to take away some very important lessons from their 3-3 draw against Cuba on Sunday in Managua.
Coming just three days after a 3-1 win over the Cubans in a friendly, the Pinoleros carried a 3-1 lead into the final 10 minutes of Sunday's contest, only to see the islanders strike for two late goals to earn the draw.
"It was not the result that we wanted," said forward Juan Barrera, who became Nicaragua's all-time leading scorer (12 goals) after scoring Nicaragua's first goal of the match in the first-half.
"Unfortunately, there was a lack of concentration in the final play. Friendly matches are for that, to improve," added Barrera.
It was just the type of reminder that could serve Nicaragua very well when 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League qualifying begins this fall, as the Central Americans square off against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Haiti.
"Playing against Cuba was a great lesson ahead of the Nations League," said defender Henry Nino.
Even though things ended in a draw, Barrera found that Nicaragua's overall quality of play was better than last Thursday's win.
"You could see a different national team, one that goes forward, that attacks. I'm left with the work that we did as a team more than any individual," said Barrera.
If anything, the two matches against Cuba have whetted Nicaragua's appetite to continue improving with CNL qualifying on the horizon.
"I think [the second match] was played better than the first in which we started inattentive, but this time we were more focused," said DF Cyril Errington. "In the end we committed an error. All that's left now is to continue working,"