Young Reggae Boyz on the cusp of Group F honours after 2-0 win over Grenada; T&T, Canada to decide Group D

By Sports Desk February 27, 2024
Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz celebrate. Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz celebrate. Concacaf Media

Jamaica's young Reggae Boyz remain in the driver's seat to secure the coveted Group F top spot, following their 2-0 win over Grenada in their second encounter at the Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship qualifiers in St Kitts and Nevis on Monday.

The Jamaicans, who clipped Martinique 1-0 in their opening contest on Saturday, made it two-in-two, courtesy of goals from Nicholas Simmonds (30th) and Ronaldo Barrett (82nd). It was the first goal for both players at this level and the first time Jamaica have secured consecutive wins at the tournament since 2022. It was also the country's first consecutive clean sheet at the tournament since 2018, and first win against Grenada at this level since that 2018 outing.

Simmonds, who represents Richmond Kickers in the United States, was delighted by his first start and, by extension, his first national goal.

"It felt good so thanks to coach for giving me the start and it was also great to get a goal in. I am just happy to wear the national colours and I am looking forward to a good game against Bermuda, the team chemistry is really good, so we should again do well in that game," Simmonds said in a post-game interview.

With the win, the John Wall-coached young Reggae Boyz remain in pole position on six points, and only require a draw against second-placed Bermuda (three points) on Wednesday to confirm their spot in the Concacaf Championships round where the top six teams –United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic -awaits.

The final round will be staged in Mexico in July, where four spots to the 2025 FIFA Under-20 World Cup will be up for grabs.

Elsewhere in Group F, Martinique rebounded from their loss to Jamaica to edge Bermuda 2-1.

Hervinsonn Gervais (33rd) and Awon Guillaume (63rd) scored for Martinique, while Riley Robinson (82nd) pulled one back for Bermuda.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago will be among those in action on Tuesday, as they lock horns with Canada in a much-anticipated Group D top-of-the-table clash with Canada, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

The two will meet in the 6:00pm feature contest, after Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines square off in a 3:00pm contest of academic interest.

This will be the 10th all-time meeting between Trinidad and Tobago and Canada at this level, with the North American boasting seven wins, one loss and one draw from their previous encounters. Both teams are currently locked on six points, with Canada ahead on goal difference. The winner progress to this summer’s Championship.

 

Related items

  • Killer instinct of matchwinner Sammie Szmodics lacking for Leeds – Daniel Farke Killer instinct of matchwinner Sammie Szmodics lacking for Leeds – Daniel Farke

    Daniel Farke admitted the killer instinct of Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics was lacking from his Leeds side after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat dealt a blow to their automatic promotion hopes.

    Leeds dominated the Championship encounter at Elland Road but could not turn possession into goals.

    Farke’s side remain third in the table when a win would have seen them seize the initiative from top two Leicester and Ipswich.

    Farke said: “When you face a side like Blackburn with a player like Szmodics, he showed the quality which we didn’t show today and he needed just one chance to score.

    “So many balls went through the box, but you also need to show the quality to put the ball in the net.

    “If you don’t score you have so much more risk. There is also a danger there will be one moment for your opponent and they can score. It’s pretty disappointing and frustrating for us.

    “We didn’t put the ball into the net. If you don’t score, you can’t win the game.”

    Despite his players missing the chance to steal a march on their rivals, Farke refused to put the blame on them.

    He said: “It’s up to me if we don’t score – to find solutions. I have to work with them so that in the next game we create more chances.

    “It’s up to us in training to work on our efficiency and create more chances. Today we have created more than enough chances to score. I’m not the guy to point the finger at the players when we don’t score.

    “If a team fights to survive and fights against relegation, if they try to annoy us with time wasting and whatever, it’s nothing that I can influence.”

    Szmodics dealt the killer blow with a cool finish eight minutes from time as the visitors went route one.

    Sam Gallagher headed on a long ball from Aynsley Pears before Tyrhys Dolan turned and fed Szmodics and he did the rest with a composed finish past Illan Meslier.

    The Leeds goalkeeper had saved from Szmodics with Blackburn’s only effort of the first period, while Pears had saved from Crysencio Summerville, Wilfried Gnonto and Connor Roberts as the home side failed to make their dominance pay.

    Blackburn head coach John Eustace was full of praise for his side.

    He said: “I was very proud of the effort the boys have given me since I came in, it has been outstanding.

    “To come here and play like we did was great. We had a game plan without the ball. I am delighted with the effort and very proud of them.”

    Blackburn bounced back from a 5-0 defeat at Bristol City in midweek and that resilience was what pleased Eustace the most.

    He added: “Wednesday was a bit of a blip. That certainly wasn’t a team that I have been a part of. We have been very difficult to beat.

    “It’s very important that we keep working hard, sticking together. We have three games left and we still need points.”

    Eustace praised Szmodics, adding: “Sammie, without his goals this season, we really would have been in trouble. The rest of the group have created those chances for him.

    “Since I’ve been here he has been magnificent. To score 30 goals in the Championship is a fantastic effort.”

  • Antoine Griezmann bags brace as Atletico Madrid beat Girona Antoine Griezmann bags brace as Atletico Madrid beat Girona

    Antoine Griezmann struck in both halves as Atletico Madrid consolidated fourth spot in LaLiga with a 3-1 victory over rivals Girona.

    The capital club got off to a slow start, falling behind in the fourth minute when a slick move finished with Yangel Herrera rolling through to Yan Couto, whose strike from a narrow angle was turned in at the back post by Artem Dovbyk.

    But they were back on level terms in the 34th minute after Miguel Gutierrez handled in the area, with Griezmann dispatching the resulting penalty despite Girona goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga guessing the right way.

    In the sixth minute of added-on time at the end of the first half, Alvaro Morata kept the ball in play on the left touchline and his cross led to Angel Correa stealing in between two defenders to head home.

    Griezmann then gave Atletico some breathing room in the 50th minute, firing high beyond Gazzaniga after Rodrigo De Paul’s cross had fallen into his path following a deflection from Jhon Solis.

    Atletico are now five points clear of Athletic Bilbao, who are fifth, and moved to within four of third-placed Girona, whose hopes of pipping Barcelona as runners-up suffered a setback.

  • Jackson imparts knowlege, motivation to young Dominican sensation Etienne Jackson imparts knowlege, motivation to young Dominican sensation Etienne

    If ever rising Dominican sprint sensation Kerelle Etienne required an extra bit of motivation to keep pushing in her budding career, she would have received it during a recent sit down with Jamaica's World and Olympic medallist Shericka Jackson.

    Jackson, one of the world's most prominent athletes, took the time to mentor Etienne, a 15-year-old talent hailing from Bagatele, who attends Edwin Allen High School, situated in central Jamaica.

    Currently the fifth fastest woman of all time over 100 metres, and the fastest woman alive and second fastest woman in history over 200m, the decorated Jackson shared insight and encouragement with Etienne, as she motivated the young sensation to continue striving for greatness.

    Etienne, who is supported by a scholarship from the school, as well as the Dominica Olympic Committee and Cheryl Rolle, boasts big dreams, and has already put her immense potential on display when she secured a fourth-place finish in a brisk11.85 seconds, as the recent 51st Carifta Games in Grenada.

    Prior to that, Etienne contributed valuable points to Edwin Allen's tally which saw them reclaim the girls' title at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championship at Jamaica's National Stadium.

    While pointing out that training in Jamaica is more difficult than it is in Dominica, Etienne has adapted well under the guidance of Michael Dyke.

    "The training here in Jamaica is much harder than in my country, but I am coping well with it as I really want to make my friends and family proud back home," Etienne said in a recent interview.

    "It feels so good competing on this (synthetic) type of track as all our competition back home is done on grass. Edwin Allen High has been my dream school in Jamaica. I kept in touch with their performances on YouTube and I am really happy to be a member of the team now," she added.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.