Benna Boys bow out following narrow defeatIt was a case of so near and yet so far for Millwall defender Mahlon Romeo as Antigua & Barbuda's World Cup dreams were shattered with a 2-0 defeat in Guatemala in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Having recorded a narrow 1-0 win in the first of the two-legged clash on Friday, Lions full-back Mahlon and his Benna Boys team-mates knew that they were going to have their work cut out in the return fixture at Mateo Flores, Guatemala City.
Following a gutsy first-half display in which they held Guatemala to a 0-0 score, the home side broke the deadlock on 61 minutes with a goal from Carlos Ruiz.
Then two minutes after Antigua & Barbuda made the third of three second-half substitutions, Guatemala doubled their tally with a Dennis Lopez effort to edge 2-1 ahead on aggregate.
The Benna Boys tried desperately to keep their World Cup qualification dream alive with a late spell of pressure but they just could not force an equaliser, bringing an end to their hopes of an historic first-ever appearance in the World Cup Finals.
Benna Boys: Muhammed, Tumwa, Thomas (Burton, 72mins), John (Byers, 62mins), Parker, Robinson, Romeo, Weston, Griffith, Harriette (Jahraldo-Martin, 49mins), Francis-Angol. Subs not used: Stevens, E. Thomas, Peters, Kirwan, Browne, Beckles-Richards, James, Lockhart, J. Stevens.
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