We must be brave, says Hallgrimsson
Reggae Boyz look to overcome 2-1 Nations League deficit in Toronto
Jamaica’s coach Heimir Hallgrimsson says he is confident that the Reggae Boyz can get the result they need to advance to the last four, when they play hosts Canada today in their Concacaf Nations League A quarterfinal second leg at the BMO field in Toronto at 7 p.m.
After going down 2-1 in the first leg at the National Stadium on Saturday, the Reggae Boyz are required to win by two clear goals in order to advance. At stake is passage to the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League finals in March and qualification for the Copa America 2024.
Hallgrimsson believes they have the quality and tactics to pull off the win but said they must make use of the chances they create.
“We have our plans to attack them. I think we created some really good scoring chances in Kingston and this game is a playoff game of such a high calibre and quality, we have to be a little more clinical in finishing our chances.
“We need two goals. We know that. But we need to be brave and we need to be smart when going forward.
“I have no doubt at all in my mind. I am confident (going into today’s game). The guys looked sharp (in training) but considering everything, it is going to be a strange game,” he said.
The Reggae Boyz will be without top forward Michail Antonio, who was forced off by an injury in the first leg, but the return of Demarai Gray from injury will be a major boost for the team.
Despite conceding two goals in the first leg, Hallgrimsson said he was generally pleased with how they contained the Canadians and limited their opportunities to score, and he hopes they will be even more effective on the defensive front this time.
“We are pleased we created the chances but losing a goal in the first half was also a blow to our approach to the game. So we need to adapt early in the game. But overall, we didn’t give them a lot of scoring chances and we need to keep on doing that here in Canada.
“They will probably be pretty confident with their 2-1 advantage now that they are playing at home. They don’t lose a lot of games there, so they will be pretty confident.
“They are a really good transitional team, probably one of the best in Concacaf. So we need to react when we lose possession and deny them space to pass into attack, and players are aware that we must not lose our duels,” he stated. Canada will also be confident going into today’s match. In their last home meeting against Jamaica in a 2022 World Cup qualifier, the Canadians ran away 4-0 winners. That Jamaican team was a bit weaker than the one they will face today but Canada are also stronger as top player Alphonso Davies missed last year’s match and he is expected to be in the starting team today.