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GOLD CUP FOOTBALL: Jamaica leading Haiti 1-0

Published:Saturday | July 18, 2015 | 12:00 AMAudley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sport

BALTIMORE, Maryland:
Jamaica lead Haiti 1-0 at half-time in their CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-final football match at M&T Bank Stadium here.

Giles Barnes scored at the seventh minute, firing in from an acute angle off a pass from Rodolph Austin 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, 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's Reggae Boyz 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.

The teams are battling to meet the United States in Wednesday’s semi-final in Atlanta.

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.

“They’re two very difficult teams to play,” said US coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, commenting on the likely semi-final matchup.

“They’re two teams that are very different in their approach. It’ll be a very tough match on Wednesday night in Atlanta,” Klinsmann added.