Seven goals saw the last hosts of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup take the first step to making it to the next edition, as the Bahamas took three points against Antigua and Barbuda.
Bahamas kicked off the 2019 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship Puerto Vallarta against Antigua and Barbuda, with a simple goal: qualification to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2019.
This time around, they would have to fight for qualification to the global showdown, which is to be held in Paraguay later this year, as last time they enjoyed automatic qualification as the host nation.
Gary Joseph got them off to a good start though, as his acrobatic volley turned in a long cross to make it 1-0 after just a minute. An almost immediate response came in the form of Elvis Thomas, who drove in a low shot to level up.
But the Bahamas found themselves ahead again when Munnings teed himself up for a sublime overhead.
Antigua and Barbuda had a chance to draw level once more, but Steven Hughes blasted a dangerously-placed freekick wide. Francois managed to squeeze in a third for Bahamas before the break.
It took no time at all for the boys in blue to extend their lead, as St Fleur blasted a volley in directly from kick off. Luiz Escobar’s men were running away with the tie, and Williams added a fifth, pulling off an awesome bicycle kick.
The task of a comeback was made even more difficult for Antigua and Barbuda when Francois stretched to poke past the onrushing Samuel Watley in the Antigua net. Kevin Richards rose high above the Bahamas defence to nod home and make it 6-2 but almost immediately Williams struck again from distance to restore the five-goal advantage.
Chevon Moore put away a turning shot for the Antiguans, and then with just two minutes on the clock, Murray beat the keeper to a spilled ball to get his name on the scoresheet.
At 7-4 the game suddenly looked a little less one-sided, but time was ticking and eventually ran out for Beto Lima’s men. An opening three points in the bag for Bahamas represents a positive first step for their 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup campaign.
Goals: 1-0: Joseph, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Thomas, min. 10 (1); 2-1: Munnings, min. 7 (1); 3-1: Francois, min. 4 (1); 4-1: St Fleur, min. 11 (2); 5-1: Williams, min. 5 (2); 6-1: Francois, min. 10 (3); 6-2: Richards, min. 8 (3); 7-2: Williams, min. 7 (3); 7-3: Moore, min. 4 (3); 7-4: Murray, min. 2 (3);
2019 CONCACAF BEACH SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP PUERTO VALLARTA
Monday 13th May
10:45 - Bahamas 7-4 Antigua and Barbuda (Group C)
12:00 - Trinidad & Tobago v Turks and Caicos Islands (Group B)
14:15 - Costa Rica v Jamaica (Group A)
15:30 - US Virgin Islands v Panama (Group B)
16:45 - Bonaire v USA (Group C)
18:00 - Guatemala v Mexico (Group A)
Tuesday 14th May
10:45 - Guadeloupe - Belize (Group D)
12:00 - Trinidad & Tobago - US Virgin Islands (Group B)
14:15 - Costa Rica - Guatemala (Group A)
15:30 - Guyana - El Salvador (Group D)
16:45 - Panama - Turks and Caicos Islands (Group B)
18:00 - Mexico - Jamaica (Group A)