Arichell Hernández marcó tres goles en la victoria de Cuba frente a Antigua y Barbuda en la Concacaf Nations League. Foto: Tomada de Deporcuba.

Cuba walks in the Nations League with Arichell Hernández hat trick

What before seemed like a utopia, today is closer to becoming a reality. The Cuban soccer team, usually ignored due to a string of disastrous results and mediocre performance, today shows signs of progressive growth and is gaining seriousness and skill, largely due to the incorporation of professional players, the coupling of the new figures to the collective dynamics and the good work of the coaches, who have found the formula to achieve harmony in the squad.

Pablo Elier Sánchez, national coach, has been one of the main responsible for the new air that is breathed in the Antillean eleven, also oxygenated with the entry of seasoned footballers in the professional arena. Those are the cases of Onel Hernández, Carlos Vázquez or Jorge Luis Corrales, who have joined the talented Luis Javier Paradela, Yosel Piedra, Arichell Hernández, Sandy Sánchez, Maykel Reyes and company.

With this base, the Caribbean Lions have given a very positive image to Cuban fans during their foray into the second level of the Concacaf Nations League, an adventure that has so far resulted in three wins and one loss, valid for leading key A together with Guadalupe, both with nine units.

The last victory of the Antillean team came this Sunday at the Antonio Maceo court in Santiago de Cuba, where they beat Antigua and Barbuda in the entire line. With a game based on high pressure, rapid movement of the ball and depth down the flanks, the eleven from the Island imposed their law, led by captain Arichell Hernández, who scored the team’s three goals.

After the first quarter of an hour of the game, the midfielder from Villa Clara opened the can by taking advantage of a rebound after a shot to the woodwork by Onel Hernández, and only five minutes later he headed a perfect cross from the left, also by Onel, on goal. who was a real headache for the defense of Antigua.

The Birmingham City winger appeared all over the attack front, led Cuba’s first line of pressure and stifled the exit of the rivals, who made rude mistakes on more than one occasion before Onel’s deployment.

That was the tone of the first half, in which the Antillean team was able to take greater advantage, but two balls crashed into the posts and on other occasions they failed when they had everything in their favor to score. Either way, the picture for the opening 45 minutes was very positive, probably one of the best collective performances in recent times.

For the complement, Cuba slowed down a bit and Antigua managed to close the gap with a great goal from D’Andre Bishop (minute 51) coming out of a corner. The striker volleyed a loose ball on the edge of the large area and took a left-footed shot that slipped through the defense, unattainable by Sandy Sánchez.

After that goal, the Cuban team tried to control the game, but without the intensity of the first half, perhaps a little exhausted by the sun and the high temperatures of the Santiago afternoon. However, at that pace it was enough for them to score a third goal after a great through pass from Luis Javier Paradela to Arichell, who defined with cold blood inside the area.

This is the third victory in a row for the Antillean team in group A of the second level of the Concacaf Nations League, after those achieved last week against Barbados and Antigua. During this first window of the event, the Cubans only fell on their visit to Guadalupe, a squad that has yet to play in Cuba.

At the moment, the two are tied with nine units, although the Leones del Caribe have a better goal average (+6), the result of nine goals for and three against, for a +2 (five for and three against) from Guadalupe.

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