GOLD CUP FOOTBALL: 1-0 win sends Jamaica into semis against USA
Jamaica advanced to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 victory over Haiti in their quarter-final football match at M&T Bank Stadium today.
“I’m very proud of my team,” said Reggae Boyz head coach, Winfried Schafer.
“We played without two players. What is important is team work,” he added. “The best team wins, the best defence wins.
“We’re strong as a team and all our players go over the limit. We fight for the ball and I’m very happy about this.”
They will meet the United States, which beat Cuba 6-0 in the opening quarter-final, in Atlanta next Wednesday.
“It’s open. The States (USA) is tough, they’re the home team,” noted Schafer.
“This is difficult, not easy, we’re the underdogs.”
Giles Barnes scored at the seventh minute, firing in from an acute angle off a cut back from Adrian Mariappa in a very competitive contest.
The Haitians pushed the tempo and had several good opportunities to score, coming closest to an equaliser at the 24th minute when Duckens Nazon hit a low shot from the top of the penalty box against the base of the upright.
There were several other occasions when Haiti got good chances to score in the first half, but goalkeeper Ryan Thompson produced good saves to deny James Marcelin at the 14th, Wilde-Donald Guerrier at the 27th and Jean-Marc Alexandre, who fired a dipping shot from near 40 yards.
Jamaica were generally organised and tactical in their approach, dropping back deep in defence while allowing Haiti possession and looking to counter when they won the ball.
Haiti themselves, were showing respect to Jamaica’s speed in transition and recovered many times to have good numbers in the back.
But the Jamaicans were patient and put together some decent buildups, almost scoring from one of the combination plays when Joel Grant set up Simon Dawkins, whose left-footed shot went just wide of the far post.
There at the 30th minute.
Jamaica’s defence got better for the second half and Haiti, who built up a lot of pressure, weren’t able to squeeze passes between the back four or hit passes over.
As the French-speaking Caribbean team couldn’t find a way through, they opted for a lot of shots from outside the box in the second half, none of which threatened the Jamaica goal.
Jamaica, on the other hand, continued playing on the counter and were more threatening, only that their choices around goal were not perfect and this prevented them from adding to their goal, with Joel (Jobi) McAnuff and Kemar Lawrence off a free-kick going closest to scoring.
“I think we would have gotten more respect if we had made the semi-finals,” said Haiti’s coach, Marc Collat, through an interpreter. “It’s the Jamaicans going forward instead to the semi-finals and I think they’ll have a good chance.”
In the opening game of the double-header at M&T Bank Stadium, Clint Dempsey netted his first hat-trick for the United States, which thumped Cuba 6-0.
The Americans led 4-0 at half-time.
Dempsey opened the scoring at the fourth minute, added a second from the penalty spot at the 64th and closed out his triple at the 77th. Gyasi Zardes (14th), Aron Johansson (32nd) and Omar Gonzalez, in first half stoppage time, were the others scorer for the USA.
“It’ll be a very tough match on Wednesday night in Atlanta,” said US head coach, Klinsmann.
The other semi-finalists will be decided on Sunday, when Trinidad and Tobago play Panama and Costa Rica tackle Mexico at East Rutherford in New Jersey.