Ja get strong send-off against Panama
Khadija Shaw netted a brace as the Reggae Girlz dispatched Panama 3-1 in their farewell game at the National Stadium last night, before the team’s departure to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Shaw scored in the 29th and 49th minutes to lead the way, with Shakira Duncan getting the other for the hosts in the 80th minute.
Natalia Mills scored for the Panamanians in the 78th minute.
However, Shaw credits her teammates for helping her to make the brace happen.
“I’m a team player, and if my teammates didn’t work hard behind me, and work to give me that ball, then maybe I wouldn’t have gotten those two goals, so kudos to them,” she said afterwards.
However, she believes the work she did in the off-season is having a massive effect on her game as well.
“The fitter you are, the less you get injured,” she said. “I have been working in the off-season to make myself as best as I can, and I guess it has been working, so I just have to keep on doing what I am doing. But at the end of the day, you got to do what you have to do.”
The Reggae Girlz dominated the first half and came close through Allyson Swaby, Trudy Carter, Dominique Bond-Flasza and Shaw.
But the Panamanians kept them at bay thanks largely to their young goalkeeper, Yenith Bailey.
Panama also came close on two occasions through Karla Riley, but the Girlz, backed by an enthusiastic home support, launched attack after attack, and they eventually broke the visitors’ resistance in the 29th minute when Shaw was allowed time and space in the area, and she beat Bailey with a shot inside the near post.
The Jamaicans had a couple of other chances before the break but could not take advantage.
The Girlz started the second half brightly and Shaw added to their lead after a precise low cross from Olufolasade Adamolekun to find the striker, who stabbed home at the back post.
The visitors cut the deficit in the 78th minute when the Reggae Girlz defence fell asleep and allowed Mills to get in and score in an unprotected goal from just outside the box.
But Jamaica restored their two goal advantage 10 minutes from time when Shaw broke away on a counter and fed Duncan, who slotted past Bailey for a 3-1 lead.
The hosts also created other chances to go further in front, but could not capitalise.
Panama coach Victor Suarez said Jamaica were excellent on the night.
“It was a difficult game, but Jamaica put in a grand performance because the World Cup is near,” he said. “But we came to do a tactical job and we lost.”