The Reggae Boyz left it very late to seal qualification. A magnificent volley in the 89th minute by substitute Simon Dawkins stunned a capacity 18,000 flag-waving crowd in the Nicaraguan capital.
The two-goal winning margin saw Jamaica topping the Nicaraguans 4-3 on aggregate. The Central Americans had stunned the Reggae Boyz 3-2 at the National Stadium last Friday. It was a result which left them with an uphill task to qualify for the semi-final round.
Last night, the Boyz got the perfect start from a man who just can’t stop scoring. Darren Mattocks has now found the back of the net in Jamaica’s last four competitive matches.
He was on target against the United States in that historic semi-final Gold Cup win. Then in the Gold Cup final he again hit the target against Mexico. He fired in what proved to be a crucial goal in last Friday’s first leg, and was in the right place at the right time last night to give Jamaica a 12th-minute lead.
While they are now rejoicing after a great escape, things will not get any easier for the Reggae Boyz. In the semi-final round they have been drawn in Group B where they will face Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti – three of the top teams in CONCACAF. The top two will advance to the final round of six teams.
Jamaica’s opening match in the semi-final round is against Panama on November 13 at the National Stadium.