Mexico blank Reggae Boyz 3-0, to set up Gold Cup finale against Panama

By July 12, 2023
Mexico's Luis Chavez executes a delightful freekick during their Concacaf Gold Cup semi-final contest against Jamaica at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, on Wednesday. Mexico's Luis Chavez executes a delightful freekick during their Concacaf Gold Cup semi-final contest against Jamaica at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, on Wednesday. Concacaf Media

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz are left to pick up the pieces of another failed Concacaf Gold Cup campaign, as they again fell by the wayside at the semi-final stage, losing 0-3 to Mexico in an entertaining encounter at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, on Wednesday.

Henry Martin opened the scoring in the 2nd minute, before Luis Chavez (30th) inflicted more pain, leaving substitute Roberto Alvarado (90+3) to throw salt in the Jamaicans wounds and send eight-time champions Mexico into their third-consecutive Gold Cup final.

They will meet 2005 and 2013 finalists Panama in Sunday’s final, after the Central Americans defeated United States 5-4 on sudden-death penalty after playing out a 1-1 stalemate in full and extra time at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California.

With a large turnout of Jamaican spectators inside the 61,000-capacity stadium, the Reggae Boyz, who were finalists in the 2015 and 2017 tournaments, and also 2019 semi-finalist, started with a burst of purpose but it evaporated as briskly as it started.

This, as Mexico won possession from the failed Jamaican attack, in the middle of the park and broke down the right channel.  A long pass switching the point of attack was picked up by Jesus Gallardo, whose pass across the 18-yard box found an unmarked Martin, who applied an easy finish beyond Andre Blake.

The Mexicans went close to doubling the lead eight minutes later, but Blake diving full stretch to his left, denied Erick Sanchez’s left-footed effort from the top of the 18-yard box.

Though the Jamaicans orchestrated a few quick breaks, using their speed an athleticism down the channels, they were unable to make it count in the final third, where the lacked composure.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 24th minute that they got a shot off at Guillermo Ochoa’s goal when Demarai Gray found space for a right-footer from outside the 18-yard box that was easily collected by the Mexican shot stopper.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, they soon found themselves two goals down at the half-hour mark when Chavez’s delightfully taken left-footed free kick from about 25 yards out, rendered a five-man wall useless, beating Blake’s full stretch dive to his right.

While the action remained lively for the most parts, neither team was able to create any more meaningful chances in the latter stages of the half, as they went to the break with the score unchanged.

Heimir Hallgrimsson made a tactical change at the top of the second half, bringing on striker Shamar Nicholson for holding midfielder Kevon Lambert and the move worked to some extent, as the Reggae Boyz started seeing more possession of the ball in the attacking third.

They went close to pulling on back in the 54th minute, after Leon Bailey orchestrated a decent buildup in which he switched the attack to Michail Antonio, who whipped a one-time pass across the face of goal, but Nicholson was late in arriving at the far post.

As the Jamaicans continued to enjoy a good passage of play with Mexico at a lull, Antonio had the opportunity to hit the target from a solo run in the 75th minute. However, the West Ham United man was hesitant in pulling the trigger and the belated effort was charged down.

Both teams continued the probe for goals, the Jamaicans moreso, but while they came up empty in their hunt, Jaime Lozano’s side helped themselves to another. Poor defending by Damion Lowe allowed Gallardo a free run in the box to play a pass across the face of goal for Alvarado to tap in from close range in time added.

Teams: Jamaica- Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Javain Brown (Dexter Lembikisa 51st), Kevon Lambert (Shamar Nicholson 46th), Bobby Reid, Amari'i Bell, Dishon Bernard, Joel Latibeaudiere (Daniel Johnson 85th), Leon Bailey, Demarai Gray, Michail Antonio (Dujuan Richards 85th)

Subs not used: Jahmali Waite, Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Adrian Mariappa, Kemar Lawrence, Jonathan Russell, Kaheem Parris, Corey Burke,

Booked: Brown (29th), Lambert (39th), Bernard (55th)

Mexico –Guillermo Ochoa, Jorge Sanchez, Cesar Montes, Johan Vasquez, Jesus Gallardo, Erick Sanchez (Carlos Rodriguez 62nd), Luis Romo, Luis Chavez (Edson Alvarez 72nd), Uriel Antuna (Roberto Alvarado 72nd), Henry Martin (Santiago Gimenez 63rd), Orbelin Pineda (Diego Lainez 87th)

Subs not used: Antonio Rodriguez, Angel Malagon, Julian Araujo, Gerardo Arteaga, Ozziel Herrera, Israel Reyes, Victor Guzman

Booked: Antuna (61st), Alvarez (90th)

Referee: Mario Escobar (Guatemala)

Assistant referee: Luis Ventura (Guatemala); Humberto Panjoj (Guatemala)

Fourth Official: Bryan Lopez (Guatemala)

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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