The junior Reggae Boyz took the first step towards securing a place in the 12-team Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) under-20 championships to be staged in… Puebla, Mexico, from February 18 – March 2, after registering a 1-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda in their Group B Caribbean Football Union encounter at the Stadium East yesterday.The game’s all-important goal was scored by Oshane Boothe in the 42nd minute.
In the opening game of the double-header, Cuba got by Suriname 2-1. Arichel Hernandez Mora netted both goals for Cuba, as he scored in the 24th and 45th minutes. Miquel Danny Darson, in the 46th minute, scored for Suriname.
Darson was ejected from the game 28 minutes later, after committing his second bookable offence.
The result has left Jamaica and Cuba tied at the top of the group on three points, while Suriname and Antigua and Barbuda are pointless.
“The performance was not the best, but the first game is always complicated,” Jamaica’s head coach, Luciano Gama said.”They (the Reggae Boyz) had some problems in the first half with the system and we adjusted that for the second half and the team responded well and played a good second half.”
The junior Reggae Boyz improved their game as the first half wore on, as Antigua and Barbuda had their goalkeeper, Prince Walter, to thank for keeping them in the game. Walter was forced into his first save in the 35th minute when he used his foot to keep out a shot from Javanie Mitchell, after he was played through by the team’s ace midfielder Andre Lewis.
Three minutes later, Walter was forced to turn a powerful drive from the top of the area by Lewis around his left upright.
Jamaica would take the lead three minutes before the half-time interval when a cross by Lewis from the right touchline eluded Walter leaving Boothe with the easiest of headers at the back post.
The second half did not offer much by way of goal mouth activity as Jamaica maintained possession and secured the opening-round victory.
“Both teams played well, so it was a very interesting game,” Antigua and Barbuda’s coach George Warner said. “We came up against the powerhouse team and we were able to hold them to 1-0,” he added.