The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica became the second finalist of this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup when they defeated Mexico by a lone goal inside the Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California, USA.
The lone goal of the match was scored by central half Kemar Lawrence in the closing minutes of the game. Mexico conceded a free kick outside their penalty box, and Lawrence stepped up to take the kick. He then spun the ball round the left side of Mexico’s four-man defensive wall : leaving goalkeeper Jesus Corona utterly bemused as the ball entered the net.
The keenly contest match was action-packed from the beginning to the end, with both sides occasionally throwing tackles as the game grew in intensity .
Jamaica abandoned the defensive approach they adopted in their group game encounter against Mexico, as they came out to attack their opponent on several occasions in the course of the first half.
Mexico were very active from both flanks where Orbelin Pineda and Elias Hernandez operated. The later peppered Jamaica with his crosses from the right flank, which his team mates could not convert to goals.
Mexico had two good chances to score in the twelfth minute but were thwarted by Andre Blake who made two wonderful saves in quick succession. The first opportunity came when Jesus Duenas’ deflected shot inside Jamaica’s penalty box was pushed out of danger by the outstretched foot of Blake, who had dived the wrong way; and the ball Blake had kicked out of the six yard box flew directly to the front of a Mexican player who aimed at the goal post with his own shot ,but Blake again was on hand to prevent it from entering the net.
Eric Torres missed another chance to put the Ticos ahead in the twenty fourth minute of the game. A Hernandez’s cross from the right flank found Torres inside Jamaica’s penalty box, but his header was pushed out of the goal mouth area by the excellent goalkeeping Blake.
The only goal scoring opportunity Jamaica had in the first half was when Jermaine Taylor’s powerful free kick was prevented from entering the goal by the timely deflection made by Jesus Corona’s outstretched hands.
Eric Torres was lucky he only got a yellow card for an offence that should have genuinely earned him a red card. The Mexican central forward maliciously stamped his boot into the leg of a Jamaican player, as he tried to stop him from making a run into his penalty box.
Jamaica came into the second half playing more attacking football, which sometimes forced the Mexicans to fall back and defend.
Mid-way into the second half, Mexico resumed their attacking game in full force, but the athleticism and giant stature of the Jamaica’s players helped them in fending off Mexico’s offensive play.
Mexico second half substitute Jesus Garllardo failed to beat Blake with his powerful free kick, which flew straight into the goalkeeper Corona’shands.
Blake counterpart on the opposite side Jesus Corona make an awe-inspiring save of Damian Lowe’s powerful header inside Mexico’s penalty box.
Gallardo was on hand again to trouble Jamaica with his powerful header inside their penalty box; once again, Andre Blake rose to the occasion and prevented the ball from entering the goal post.
Jamaica will now meet the United State of America on Wednesday in Levi Stadium, Santa Clara, California,USA.