January 23, 2022

Jamaica open CONCACAF Nations League with 4-0 win over Cayman Islands

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From Jamaica Observer

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica opened their qualifying phase of the CONCACAF Nations League with a comfortable 4-0 win over an over-matched Cayman Islands inside the National Stadium on Sunday.

Played before a paltry 1,360 patrons, Darren Mattocks in the second and 58th minutes, and strike partner Cory Burke in the 34th and 66th minutes, struck for the home team, who could have won by a much wider margin had they been more clinical and disciplined in their overall output.

The game was one of 68 in the qualifying phase which will be conducted during the FIFA windows of September, October and November this year, and next March.

Jamaica will next oppose Bonaire in Curacao in October, then return home to face Suriname in November, then closing out away to El Salvador next March.

The top-10 teams on points at the end of the qualifying phase will join the six teams which contested the 2018 FIFA World Cup Hexagonal — Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, United States of America, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago — in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The difference between the teams was palpable, and was manifested immediately upon kick-off, as Mattocks darted to the left near post to flash a bullet-like header out of the reach of goalkeeper Ramon Sealy, after Kemar Lawrence had delivered a wicked cross, to match decent build-up play.

The DC United front-man had two decent opportunities to add to the lead approaching the half-hour mark, but he spurned them both, lobbing Sealy with the second but as he wheeled away to celebrate, a retreating defender cleared off the goal line.

However, shortly after, Burke, who now stars for Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer, slotted home left-footed after play-maker Peter-Lee Vassell picked out Owayne Gordon on the left with a pin-point diagonal pass, but Gordon mistimed his shot on goal and Burke cleaned up to put Jamaica further ahead.

On the stroke of half-time Burke thought he had netted again, but turned away in agony as Sealy tipped his goal-bound header over the goal frame from Jamaica’s best build-up play which included a number of deliberate and penetrative passes.

Mattocks grabbed his second on the night when he headed home powerfully from Adrian Mariappa’s right-sided cross.

And Burke also completed his double when he slotted home after neat inter-play with substitute Javon East.

East was later forced off injured, thus leaving the home side to play the last 12 minutes a man short, after having already completed their three substitutions, but still the chances kept coming and even ill-discipline crept in as players vacated their responsibilities in a mad dash to claim glory in the goals column.

And, as the game neared its end, captain and goalkeeper Andre Blake saved his team from conceding an embarrassing goal as he advanced well to smother a Cayman Islands break-away chance, even as a few of his defenders were caught out of position.

In the end the Jamaicans were just too good for the Cayman Islands, as they improved their head-to-head record to 11 wins, one loss and one draw in 13 meetings.

They will certainly face much tougher opposition in the future.

IMAGE: Jamaica’s Owayne Gordon (left) releases a stinging effort at goal as teammate Cory Burke looks on during the Concacaf Nations League match against Cayman Islands inside the National Stadium yesterday. Jamaica won 4-0. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Ian Burnett

For more on this story go to: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Jamaica_open_CONCACAF_Nations_League_with_4-0_win_over_Cayman_Islands?profile=1228

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