News/SportsReggae Boyz

Jamaica Salvage a CONCACAF Nations League Point Against Visiting Haiti

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Reggae Boyz’ fighting spirit earns a share of the spoils

Bobby Decordova-Reid’s late spot-kick rescued a point for Jamaica in their tense CONCACAF Nations League 2-2 stalemate against Haiti at Kingston’s National Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Haiti nabbed a deserved first-half two-goal lead, courtesy of a brace from Don Louicius. Yet the Reggae Boyz battled back, Demarai Gray’s effort deflected off defender Ricardo Ade early in the second half, and Decordova-Reid’s 83th-minute penalty earned a share of the spoils.

The physical battle between the two highest ranked teams in the Caribbean was always going to bring thrills and spills, especially as Haiti had been surprisingly held to a scoreless draw by rejuvenated Cuba at the weekend.

Shamar Nicholson, given the responsibility to spearhead the attack, with a trio of strikers sitting behind him, tried to make an instant impact but sent his shot wide of the target on two minutes.


Despite starting Leon Bailey, Decordova-Reid and Demarai Gray in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the Boyz lacked any true attacking prowess in the opening half and were not much better after the turnaround.

Louicius, who had never previously scored an international goal, showed Jamaica’s well-known strikers his finishing skills. The 22-year-old confidently bagged a brace in a three-minute spell, which silenced those handful of home fans inside the eerily emptiness of the National Stadium.

Louicius beat Damion Lowe to the ball as he tore down the left wing, and thumped the ball into the far corner past advancing ‘keeper Andre Blake on 12 minutes.

He soon added to his tally after racing unmarked into the box, and polished off Mondy Prunier’s perfect pass with a stinging shot into the back of the net.

Amari’i Bell rifled in a shot outside the jam-packed box just after the half-hour mark, but Jhony Placide calmly dealt with the danger.

With the Boyz second best throughout the opening period, the half-time teamtalk from head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson must have instilled some much-needed belief.

Bailey’s pass on the right wing found Gray in the box, who appeared to be trying to thread the ball into the path of Decordova-Reid. Yet his half-hit effort took a deflection off Ade, and rolled onto the post before crossing the line for a 51st-minute own goal.


Haiti continued their rich form of attacks to keep the home defence busy. A thundering shot from Danley Jean Jacques was denied by the crossbar on the hour-mark, with Blake rooted to the spot.

Some long overdue excitement soon followed with Kasey Palmer’s long-range effort deflected off Garven-Michee Metusala and saved on the line by diving ‘keeper Placide on 63 minutes.

The clearance then saw Jean Jacques soar down the other end, beat marker Joel Latibeaudiere, only to be denied by quick-thinking Blake who raced off his line to snuff out the danger.

With many of his troops tiring on a heavy pitch, Hallgrimsson sent on Di’Shon Bernard, Daniel Johnson and Dujuan Richards into the firing line on 74 minutes with one of his now trademark triple substitutions.

Jamaica were fortunate to earn a penalty when Ade enthusiastically tackled Romario Williams with a low jump, only for the shot to hit his hand. Decordova-Reid made no mistake with his penalty, bamboozling the ‘keeper with his run-up and picking out the bottom right corner.

More drama followed, defender Djimy Alexis was sent off after being brandished with a second card following his blatant foul on Bailey on 90 minutes.

Each team then squandered last-gasp opportunities to pick up maximum League A Group B points during time added on. Haiti’s Carl Sainte screwed his shot wide and Deordova-Reid’s effort amounted to nothing more than a clearance for a corner.

Jamaica have not produced strong performances yet remain top of Group B on four points. Defensively-minded Cuba have climbed into second spot, following their 1-0 triumph over Suriname 1-0 at the Estadio Antonio Maceo in Santiago de Cuba. Honduras, beaten 1-0 by Jamaica at the weekend, notched a 4-0 victory over Grenada at the Estadio Nacional Chelato Ucles in Tegucigalpa to move into third place.

JAMAICA | Blake – Brown, Lowe (Bernard, 74), Pinnock, Bell – Palmer, Latibeaudiere (Johnson, 74) – Bailey, D.Gray (Richards, 74), Decordova-Reid – Nicholson (Williams, 80). Subs: Boyce-Clarke, Waite, T.Gray, Mariappa, Leigh, Lambert, Phillips, Cephas


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