Sat | Dec 14, 2019

Reggae Boyz beat Antigua 2-0, advance to Nations League A

Published:Friday | November 15, 2019 | 9:09 PMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer -
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz

Jamaica secured promotion into League A of the Concacaf Nations League, defeating Antigua and Barbuda 2-0 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua tonight. Goals from Maalique Foster and Ricardo Morris in each half led the Reggae Boyz to their fifth consecutive win in Group C of League B, seeing them finish on 15 points with a mammoth +20 goal difference. The win also confirms automatic entry to the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2021.

Needing only one point to secure promotion, Theodore Whitmore's squad took the initiative to the Benna Boys early who had aspirations of their own to claim the second spot in the group, which results in advancement to the first qualifying round for the Gold Cup.

Jamaica thought they grabbed the lead in the 11th minute when Foster's corner found Damion Lowe who guided his header past Antigua goalkeeper Molvin James, but he was ruled to have committed a foul in the build up and was it ruled out. Bobby Reid, who returned to the line up after missing the previous two games with injury should have put Jamaica ahead in the 22nd minute when he was sent in through on goal but his shot was hit right at James, who was fortunate to see the ball cleared after he spilt Reid's effort. But he would not be fortunate a second time as Jamaica finally found the breakthrough in the 33rd minute. Foster started the play with a great pass towards the right hand side to Alvas Powell, who managed to land an effort at James, but could not hold on to the ball. Foster, who continued his run, managed to fire home the rebound from close range to give Jamaica a deserved lead.

They immediately went for the second and were close to doubling their lead before half time when Chavany Willis managed a shot from outside the penalty area but this time James managed to hold on to the shot.

Antigua hardly generated any chances to trouble the Jamaicans in the first half. The only threat they could generate were from Tevaughn Harriette and D'Andre Bishop, whose shots were off target.

Jamaica managed to double their lead in the 58th minute when Shamar Nicholson sent Morris through on the left and his one time blast gave James no chance. The goal was Morris' first for Jamaica in a year, since his brace against Bonaire on October 15, 2018.

Despite nervy moments towards the end when Antigua seemed to be causing concerns for the Jamaican back line, they were not troubled throughout the entire match. Antigua only managed two shots, none of which tested goalkeeper Amal Knight. Jamaica finished with six shots with three of those on target and dominated possession 61 to 39 per cent.

Jamaica return home tomorrow to prepare for their final group game against Guyana at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Monday night at 8 p.m.