Reggae Boyz Whip Antigua 3-0
Reggae Boyz Whip Antigua 3-0
Jamaica’s breathed life back into their CFU Caribbean Cup campaign when they put in an improved performance to defeat Antigua and Barbuda 3-0 at the Montego Bay Sport Complex Friday night.
Harbour View’s Kemar Lawrence got the Jamaicans on their way in the 29th minute, and his effort was followed by strikes from Darren Mattocks (44th) and captain Rodolph Austin (85th).
While Jamaica and Haiti are locked on four points each in Group B from two games, the French-speaking island nation lead the zone by virtue of a better goal difference.
Haiti soared to the top after defeating Martinique by the identical 3-0 in the evening’s opening contest.
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz had drawn their opening game against Martinique 1-1 on Wednesday, while Haiti and Antigua and Barbuda had tied their match 2-2.
Only the winner of each of the two groups will progress to the final slated for Tuesday night. The groups’ runners-up will play for third in the curtain-raiser of the double-header.
On a wet Montego Bay evening, Jamaica’s first foray into the opponents’ dangerous area came when Bodo/Glimt front man Dane Richards turned his man inside out before crossing but Darren Mattocks could not make contact.
Antigua responded almost immediately through Peter Beyers, who drifted wide after being fed a long ball from the left, but his right-footed volley went straight to Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake.
In the eighth minute, Richards, not from the flanks this time, released strike partner Mattocks from the centre, but the Vancouver Whitecaps ace could not pull the trigger as he was closely watched all the way.
But Antigua had another moment of enterprising attacking play in the 18th minute, and with space opening up for Myles Weston, the latter failed to make the opportunity count and his final shot crawled wide.
Three minutes later the Eastern Caribbean nation, host of the last Caribbean Cup, threatened the Jamaican goal when Joshua Parker rifled goal ward from the edge of the box, but Blake, caught off his line, got the measure on the shot and tipped over the horizontal.
After toiling in the vineyard, Jamaica got the breakthrough goal in the 29th minute. From a low driven free-kick into the area by captain Rodolph Austin, wing back Kemar Lawrence, with back to goal, coolly controlled, turned his man to slide the ball wide of goalkeeper James Molvin.
Jobi McAnuff, who plays his football at League One Leyton Orient, continued his good showing in the tournament when he launched a long-ranger in minute 33, forcing Molvin into another save.
And after persistent probing, Jamaica added another goal when the Richards-Mattocks partnership finally paid dividends in 44th. From the right-side, Richards centred a low ball in, and Mattocks arrived in time to tap home.
In time added, Richards again floated a ball forward for Mattocks to run on to, but a timely foot from a recovering Antigua defender denied the forward his second of the night and his third in the tournament.
Like inseparable twins, Richards and Mattocks combined again in the 50th minute, with the former floating a ball in, but this time his partner in crime could not successfully pull off the caper and the header down did not give the goalkeeper much to think about.
McAnuff continued his talismanic performance in the midfield, dribbling, scheming, orchestrating cute one-two passes and having a go at goal himself at times.
In the 65th minute, he worked his way into a great shooting position, and he could not resist the temptation and he let fly his shot that crashed violently into the chest of goalkeeper Molvin, but no Jamaican was close enough to pounce on the rebound.
Another good-looking opportunity came Jamaica’s way in the 70th minute, but Derby County’s Simon Dawkins could not beat the goal-keeper.
Only three minutes had elapsed before Jamaica showed their dangerous side yet again, this time through Richards who blazed into the box for a scorcher, but the ‘keeper threw his bulky frame behind the canon.
As Jamaica maintained their hunt for more goals, DC United’s Michael Seaton squandered a great chance in the 83th minute, skying the ball from close.
And a minute later, Hughan Gray, charging down the right side, unleashed a thunder of a shot that crashed onto the woodwork, and went outside.
But finally in the 85th minute, Jamaica got another precious goal when skipper Austin got up head and shoulder above everyone else to head home from a left-sided cross.