Jamaica Cruise Past Cayman Islands
Reggae Boyz kick-off Nations League with home success
Cory Burke and Darren Mattocks netted a brace a-piece to get Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz back to winning ways, courtesy of a thumping 4-0 win over Cayman Islands on Sunday.
Theodore Whitmore’s troops were firing on all cyclinders to blast their way past the lacklustre opposition at Kingston’s National Stadium in their opening CONCACAF Nations League qualifier.
The overwhelming victory saw Mattocks head the Boyz into the lead after only two minutes. Burke doubled the tally in the first-half with the pair each notching a second goal after the turnaround.
Following Friday’s friendly 2-0 reversal at the hands of Ecuador, the game against neighouring Caymans was perfect for head coach Whitmore to get back on track.
Having their six-game run halted on Friday, Jamaica’s resounding success on home turf proved so commanding that they restricted the Caymans to neither a shot on goal nor allowing them to earn a corner kick.
Whitmore selected a much stronger line-up against the minnows than the predominantly second string side that were soundly beaten by the South American giants two days earlier.
Those five players who stayed on the bench against Ecuador in New Jersey. United States – skipper Andre Blake, Burke, Kemar Lawrence. Adrian Mariappa and Mattocks – showed their class against the Caymans.
And the visitors, who arrived having drawn their previous three matches, were surprisingly buoyant before the tie. Their results have recently improved under the guidance of head coach Elbert McLean and his Belgian assistant Joey Jar Tjong.
But languishing at no.34 in the latest CONCACAF ranking index against the top Caribbean side proved a step too far for the Caymans from the first whistle.
Mattocks got the Boyz off to a dream start by converting Owayne Gordon’s left-wing cross with a calmly taken header past stunned captain Ramon Sealy.
With the bit between their teeth the Boyz steaming forward in a bid to double their lead, they were guilty of fluffing chance after chance. Mattocks came closest and cleverly lobbing keeper Sealy only to see fast-thinking Josewa Frederick brilliantly clear the ball off the goal line.
Burke finally made the breakthrough to double their lead on 33 minutes, astutely tricking overworked Sealy out of position. But before the interval shotstopper Sealy made amends by tipping over Burke’s dipping header.
Mattocks headed home his second from six yards, turning in Mariappa’s cross from the right two minutes before the hour-mark to end the contest.
And Burke finished off the scoring with Jamaica’s fourth strike, bobbling the ball past out of position Sealy after outwitting his marker on 66 minutes.
The Boyz continue their Nations League campaign in the Netherlands Antilles against Bonaire on 14 October before hosting Suriname on 17 November, and concluding their qualifying round in Central American against El Salvador on 23 March.
The top 10 teams on points at the conclusion of the qualifying phase are set to join the six sides who competed in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Hexagonal qualifiers – Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and United States – in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup finals.
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