Jamaica book Gold Cup semi-final spot
Darren Mattocks played a starring role as Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz booked a spot in the semi-finals of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, following a 2-1 win over Canada in their quarter-final match at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, yesterday evening.
Shaun Francis sent the Jamaicans into an early lead as he scored in the sixth minute, after collecting a cross from Portland Timbers player Mattocks, booting the ball into the net. Mattocks almost put Jamaica 2-0 up in the 33rd minute, but his shot went wide.
University of Central Florida star Romario Williams scored the second goal for the Jamaicans five minutes into the second half, making a shot from just outside the 18-yard box, curling it into the far right corner of goal, again with assistance from Mattocks.
Mattocks again came close in the 57th minute from 18 yards, sifting through several layers of turf to boot the ball just wide of the right post. It was a missed shot the Jamaicans would rue four minutes later when the Canadians got back into it, thanks to David Hoilett.
The much-favoured Canada with their 16-year-old Ghanaian-born sensation Alphonso Davies allowed the Jamaicans too much space early on which helped the Reggae Boyz gain the advantage.
The Canadians last met Jamaica in the 2015 Gold Cup group stages where the Reggae Boyz won 1-0 and later advanced to the final where they were beaten by Mexico. The Canadians, in the meantime, last played in the quarter-finals in 2009.
The Jamaicans, who conceded just one goal on their way to this stage, kept the sheet clean in the first half, confounding CyleLarin, who had a chance to score for the Canadians in the 39th minute.
Substitute David Hoilett pulled a surprise out of the hat in the 61st minute from distance to give the Canadians a fighting chance.
The Canadians gave goalkeeper Andre Blake lots to do in the second half of play, and the flying custodian put in a hard day's work saving the Jamaicans in the final four minutes of stoppage time.