Jamaica beat Mexico, book spot in Gold Cup final #GoldCup2017
Dania Bogle, Senior Gleaner Writer
Kemar Lawrence scored a masterful goal in the 87th minute to give Jamaica a 1-0 win over Mexico in the semi-finals of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup and place them into their second successive final.
Lawrence scored the goal off a free kick, after Michael Binns was brought down by a Mexican in the area. The former Harbour View player eased the ball around the wall and over the head of the unsuspecting Mexican goalkeeper.
The match earlier looked headed towards penalties as neither team seemed able to find the goal despite several shots on target. Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake continued his match winning play which has been on display all Gold Cup, saving two close and quick fire shots in the 12th minute. He had more than eight saves throughout the game.
IN PHOTO: Jamaica's Kemar Lawrence (left) and Mexico's Jesus Duenas battle for the ball during first-half action. - AP Photo
The Jamaicans started out sloppy allowing the defending champions to dominate the ball in the early moments. The Reggae Boyz half saw very little action in the first period of play as the ball stayed in Mexico’s half for most of the first 45 minutes with the red, green, and white-clad team claiming almost 70 per cent possession.
Blake again came to the rescue in the 25th minute Erick Torres got between two Jamaican defenders and headed the ball toward goal from a few yards out, sending Blake diving for the save. A Jermaine Taylor free kick came close to giving the Jamaicans a shot which was knocked away by the Mexico custodian.
The Jamaicans played a defensive game and a seemingly fearful one, wasting several opportunities to take the ball into their opponents' territory as the Mexico defenders were left fairly idle for much of the first half which ended 0-0.
Darren Mattocks made a clean break and a run for goal down the left flank as the second half started but his progress was cut short.
Mattocks had another good effort three minutes later as the Jamaicans seemed less tentative at the start of the second half.
Portmore United’s Ricardo Morris came in as substitute for last game goal scorer Shaun Francis in the 55th minute and immediately made an impact making a direct attempt that was stopped but which showed that the Jamaicans were putting more pressure on the Mexicans in the second half than they had in the first.
Damion Lowe came closest to giving the Jamaicans a winner in the 78th minute heading a ball close to the line which Corona had to work hard to push away.
In the dying moments the Jamaicans held on to make the final where they will play the United States. Mexico beat Jamaica in the last Gold Cup final in 2015. The Jamaicans last beat Mexico 1-0 in a match in 2008.