Reggae Boyz hunt Panama scalp in third-place fixture to end Nations League outing on high

By Sports Desk March 23, 2024
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz celebrate their goal against United States. Jamaica's Reggae Boyz celebrate their goal against United States. Concacaf Media

Jamaica and Panama will each try to finish their respective 2023/24 Concacaf Nations League campaigns on a high note when they meet in the third-place contest at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday.

The Heimir Hallgrimsson-coached Jamaicans delivered an excellent performance in their semi-final clash with United States, leading from the very first minute until the final seconds of second half stoppage time when an own-goal resulted in an equalizer. United States then completed a 3-1 victory with two goals in extra-time.

Nevertheless, the Reggae Boyz defence stood tall in keeping a dangerous United States attack at bay, after Gregory Leigh’s goal just 31 seconds into the match.

Captain and goalkeeper Andre Blake was at his usual best between the sticks, making four saves, while as a collective the Jamaican defence had 12 steals, with Damion Lowe one of the standout performers.

Attacker Bobby Reid was a tireless worker as well, as he supplied the assist on the Leigh goal in addition to being a threat on the counterattack.

Panama suffered a 0-3 defeat to Mexico in their semi-final encounter, in which they had control of things for a large part of the first half, but they conceded two goals shortly before the interval.

The Canaleros will be eager to claim a victory in this one and achieve their best finish ever in a Nations League Finals outing after finishing fourth in 2022-23.

Midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla was a central figure in midfield against Mexico, with 40 passes completed and two steals. Anibal Godoy also offered plenty of punch with three steals and 77 percent of passes completed.

Still, the matter of scoring remains the key component to deciding an outcome and both Jamaica and Panama will be very much aware of that. These two sides last met in Concacaf Qualifying for FIFA World Cup 2022, during which Panama won both meetings, 3-0 and 3-2. Prior to that, they were opponents in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals, which saw Jamaica register a 1-0 victory.

Regardless of the outcome, Jamaica has already rewritten the history books, as this represents their first time contesting the business end of the Concacaf Nations League. However, a win would certainly boost their morale ahead of the prestigious CONMEBOL Copa America tournament in June, as well as the Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers.

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.