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Friendlies 2
Mar 27, 2024 at 1am UK
Estadio Nacional Dennis Martinez

0 - 1

Luis Perez (72')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Reyes (81')
Reyes (82'), Angel Rodriguez (85')

Preview: Nicaragua vs. Cuba - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Nicaragua vs. Cuba - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's friendly clash between Nicaragua and Cuba, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Cuba will play their first football of 2024 on Wednesday, when they travel to take on Nicaragua in an international friendly.

The visitors were last in action in November after a CONCACAF Nations League campaign, while their hosts met Peru in a friendly on Saturday.

Match preview

Nicaragua will return to Managua on Wednesday with the aim of recording a first victory of the calendar year, having fallen short in the first of a pair of friendlies last time out, on the back of a memorable CONCACAF Nations League campaign last year.

La Azul y Blanco's last competitive football came between September and November, as they won promotion from League B Group B in their continental competition, topping the group with a near-perfect record having won five of their six matches, scoring 17 goals along the way while only conceding once.

Those victories all came consecutively, as Marco Antonio Figueroa's team beat Dominican Republic and completed doubles over Montserrat and Barbados, before only being denied a perfect record by a goalless draw in their final game against the Dominican Republic.

With momentum on their side from that group triumph, Nicaragua returned to action for the first time in 2024 with a trip to Peru in a friendly on Saturday, but they were unable to pick up where they left off, falling to a 2-0 defeat with Joao Grimaldo and Gianluca Lapadula netting goals for their hosts inside the opening 15 minutes.

Now heading into a second straight friendly before commencing World Cup Qualifying action in June, Nicaragua will set out to rebuild momentum with a return to winning ways on home soil on Wednesday.

They meet a Cuba side who are yet to play this year, instead entering their only friendly of the March international break on the back of a tougher CONCACAF Nations League campaign late last year.

Entering League A Group A, Cuba were, at least, able to narrowly avoid relegation as they collected five points from their four matches, having started with goalless draws against Haiti and Honduras either side of a crucial 1-0 win over Suriname thanks to Willian Pozo-Venta's first-half goal.

Yunielys Castillo's team did see their campaign end in a 4-0 thrashing away at Honduras, but they were able to finish clear of the bottom two nonetheless, before most recently meeting Russia in a friendly in November and suffering an 8-0 beating, with Ivan Oblyakov, Aleksandr Golovin, Anton Miranchuk, Aleksandr Silyanov, Aleksandr Sobolev, Danil Prutsev, Nikita Krivtsov and Andrei Mostovoy all helping themselves to goals.

Now travelling to Nicaragua for a friendly before returning to World Cup qualifying in three months, Cuba will set out to put that disappointment behind them and rebuild a degree of confidence on Wednesday.

Nicaragua friendly form:

Nicaragua form (all competitions):

Cuba friendly form:
  • L

Cuba form (all competitions):

Team News

Marco Antonio Figueroa will field a similar Nicaragua starting XI from their trip to Peru last time out, with regulars Josue Quijano, Jason Coronel and Jaime Moreno not involved in their squad for the pair of friendlies.

In Moreno's absence, with limited experience in attack, Luis Fernando Coronel and Anderson Treminio could again lead the line, while Juan Barrera will certainly play a key role in support, having netted 24 goals for La Azul y Blanco, the most in his nation's history.

It is defender Quijano who leads their appearance charts, and in his absence, Marvin Fletes, Juan Luis Perez and Henry Nino could again form a back three in front of goalkeeper Miguel Rodriguez.

Cuba's squad for the upcoming friendly included winger Onel Hernandez, but he is no longer able to feature, with the Norwich City man having since picked up an injury.

Key defenders Yosel Piedra, Jorge Corrales and Modesto Mendez are also not involved in the latest squad, leaving plenty of responsibility on the likes of Cavafe and Dariel Morejon in an inexperienced back line.

Midfielder Aricheell Hernandez, who has earned 30 caps and captained his nation, remains out of the squad, meaning Yunior Perez and Karel Espino could line up in the engine room, while in the absence of Onel Hernandez and Luis Paradela, Daniel Diaz and Reydel Sanchez could lead the line, with both in search of first international goals.

Nicaragua possible starting lineup:
Rodriguez; Fletes, Perez, Nino; Hernandez, J Coronel, Belli, Acevedo; Barrera; L Coronel, Treminio

Cuba possible starting lineup:
Arozarena; Gloor, Calvo, Morejon, Cavafe, Delgado; Perez, Espino, Torres; Diaz, Sanchez

We say: Nicaragua 2-0 Cuba

With home advantage on their side, and having been in action more recently with the visitors lacking several key players, we see Nicaragua bouncing back from last week's defeat and coming out on top in Wednesday's friendly.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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