Hot-shot Nicholson’s back in business
Shamar Nicholson was back on target for Jamaica as the Reggae Boyz swept aside Aruba 6-0 in their CONCACAF Nations League tie at Curaçao’s Stadion Ergilio Hato on Tuesday (15 Oct).
Nicholson, who missed a penalty and other goalscoring chances before striking late in Saturday’s lacklustre 2-0 win over Aruba at Kingston’s National Stadium, was part of a much more clinical side that tore apart the minnows in Willemstad.
Much criticised head coach Theodore Whitmore, for the Boyz’ uninspiring performances, was left smiling at the final whistle with four of his players proudly grabbing their first international goal.
Jamaica’s Dutch Caribbean opponents had been difficult to break down in Kingston with their packed midfield, but Whitmore threw caution to the wind in the return leg and within three minutes his tactics paid dividends. The Boyz made the breakthrough with midfielder Chavany Willis slotting home his spot-kick.
Jamaica hit a purple patch with two further strikes in a frantic 150-second spell, forward Maalique Foster grabbing a goal on 17 minutes that was quickly followed by Portmore United’s midfielder Lamar Walker finding the back of the net.
Belgium-based hot-shot Nicholson made no mistake for his 34th-minute goal, as the Boyz entered the half-time interval in cruise control.
Midfielder Junior Flemmings extended their lead within 90 seconds of the restart, with Costa Rican-based Foster polishing off the scoring for his brace on 53 minutes.
It was down to a combination of the Boyz taking their foot off the pedal and resilient defending by Aruba that prevented the result becoming a cricket score.
This victory, without the injured pair of influential recent newcomers of Leon Bailey and Bobby Reid, guarantees Jamaica a berth in the lucrative 2020 Gold Cup.
Critics will have been temporarily silenced by Whitmore’s achievement of brushing aside opponents in a Nations League group that comprises Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba and Guyana without conceding a goal.
Yet when the Boyz tackle qualifying for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar the squad will be brimming with confidence and settled, so those results will determine whether Whitmore’s troops are a force to be reckoned.
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