The Reggae Boyz were a happy bunch last night, this after battling hard for a win over Haiti that thrust them into the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Men’s Caribbean Cup final and next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Jamaica’s goals were scored by Simon Dawkins at the 13 minute and Darren Mattocks at the 20th.
Strikers Dawkins and Mattocks combined with deadly effect in the first half, as Jamaica used their pace on the counter to destroy Haiti 2-0 at Montego Bay Sport Complex last night.
“I’m very happy, everybody is very happy,” noted Reggae Boyz head coach, Winfried Schaefer, whose team had gone six matches without a win prior to the regional championship.
“The tournament is not finished, we have one more match. Now we have to work to make preparation,” Schaefer added after their second win in three days, pointing to tomorrow’s final against Trinidad and Tobago, which topped the other group with seven points.
Dawkins almost scored a second goal deep in the game, hitting against the post in a rare Jamaican attack in the second half.
Haiti missed a penalty at the 89th minute, when André Blake saved Emmanuel Sarki’s spot kick.
Last night’s win earned the Reggae Boyz top spot in Group Two on seven points, three more than Haiti, which entered the match leading Jamaica on goal difference for a place in the final.
In the end, the Haitians ended with the same number of points as Martinique, which beat Antigua and Barbuda 2-0 in the opening match of the evening’s double-header. However, Haiti ‘s superior goal difference gave them third place. The Antiguans finished with one point.
With two goals in the bag, the Reggae Boyz lifted their game and constructed their best passage of play with a combination of good passes, movement and possession to take control of the game and force Haiti back against their goal for about 20 minutes.
During that time, Jamaica made one clear chance from a very sweep build-up, with Dawkins, Joel (Jobi) McAnuff, and Mattocks combining to work their way into the 18-yard box, finishing with Mattocks’ left-footed shot that missed the far post by a whisker.
Haiti, which started the half with some promise as they had more of the ball and passed cleaner, had two attempts on the Jamaica goal from open play in the first half. The second going quite close to scoring as Sebastian Thurie belted a ball coming out of the Jamaica defence from 25 yards that skimmed the crossbar, with goalkeeper André Blake well beaten.
“I think it’s just one of those games,” said Austin. “When a team is chasing they’re going to take more risks. We just had to defend tight as a unit and that’s what we did.”