Girlz get better of Chile
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz turned in a workman-like performance to defeat South American side Chile 1-0, inside the National Stadium last night, in the opening contest of their two-match friendly international series.
Head coach Hue Menzies pointed to the team's lack of fitness, but was left satisfied with the result and performance.
"A lot of our players have been playing overseas in cold weather and so our fitness wasn't where it needed to be. However, we established ourselves early in the game and made use of our opportunity," said Menzies.
The Jamaicans certainly did get off on the right foot with Marlo Sweatman netting the all-important goal for the Reggae Girlz in the ninth minute of the game. The stoutly-built Sweatman scored after her corner went right through the hands of Chile's goalkeeper Cristina Endler and into the back of the net to give the locals an early advantage.
Jamaican striker Khadijah "Bunny" Shaw came close to doubling the hosts' lead shortly afterwards, but her shot from 10-yards out went high over the crossbar. Pushed on by a modest but enthusiastic crowd, the Reggae Girlz were much quicker to the ball than their opponents, particularly during the opening half, and went onto create a number of chances, which they failed to put away.
However, the Chileans, who like the Jamaicans, are using the games to help their preparations for this Summer's FIFA Women's World Cup, came into their own in the second half, with their crisp passing and busy-bodied movements bothering the Jamaicans at times.
Still, the hosts rarely seemed to lose their grip on the contest with a very organised defensive unit, led by Christina Chang and Allyson Swaby, keeping the Chileans at bay.
Besides some commanding penalty area marshalling, Reggae Girlz goalkeeper Nicole McClure, didn't have much to do, but she was forced to produce her best to turn behind a point-blanked shot from Chile's striker Yanara Aedo, in the second half.
That seemed to send a second wind through the Reggae Girlz sails with the locals beginning to wrestle control from the visitors. Young winger Jody Brown came close to doubling Jamaica's advantage in the 75th minute, but her weak effort from 12-yards went wide of the target.