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.

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz were denied what would have been an historic run to the Concacaf Nations League final, as they suffered a heartbreaking 3-1 loss to United States in extra-time of a lively semi-final encounter at the AT&T Stadium in Texas on Thursday.

After taking the lead through Greg Leigh’s first international goal in the first minute, the Reggae Boyz defended stoutly to keep United States at bay, until an unfortunate Corey Burke own-goal in the last minute of stoppage time changed the shape of the game.

Burke’s 90+5 goal not only brought the United States back into the contest, but also sent the game into extra time where Coventry forward Haji Wright, who was a second half substitute, scored a brace in the 97th and 110th minutes.

The result means United States remain on course to retain their title, while Heimir Hallgrimsson’s Reggae Boyz will contest a third-place match with the loser of the Panama versus Mexico encounter. The final and third-placed games are scheduled for Sunday.

It was a dream start for the Boyz as, with just over 50 seconds on the clock, Bobby Reid provided a weighted cross that caught United States defence napping and Leigh arrived at the far post to expertly head home.

United States settled into their game and forced the Jamaicans into a defensive posture, which allowed them space to pick their passes in the attacking third, but they failed to produce anything meaningful to bother Andre Blake.

In fact, the combination of Dexter Lembikisa, Dishon Bernard and Joel Latibeaudiere made that possible, as they consistently got in the way of the marauding United States attackers to thwart a few efforts that were going goalward.

The Jamaicans could have doubled the lead in the 20th, but Cephas, who dismissed two defenders on his way into the 18-yard box, belatedly fired his effort straight to Matt Turner, in goal for United States.

United States had an opportunity to pull level two minutes later when Kasey Palmer foolishly gave up possession in a dangerous position and it took a desperate sprint from Latibeaudiere to chase down and deny Christian Pulisic.

The hosts continued to boss possession and again went close to the equaliser, Bernard put his body on the line to deny Malik Tillman and ensured Jamaica remained 1-0 up at the break.

United States maintained their momentum on the resumption and again breached Jamaica’s defence when substitute Gio Reyna squeezed a pass through for Tillman, and it took a timely check from Michael Hector to avert the danger.

From there the United States enjoyed a decent passage of play in which they camped out in the Jamaicans half but were unable to find the equaliser due to faulty shooting for the most parts.

Cephas should have doubled Jamaica’s lead against the run of play in the 63rd, as he got to a loose ball ahead of a defender and got through on goal, but he hit a tame effort straight at Turner.

The Boyz would pay for that missed opportunity when United States with literally the last kick of the game, forced an own-goal when Burke deflected in from Reyna’s corner kick.

From there, one could sense that the writing was on the wall for the Jamaicans, especially given the fact that they were absorbing a whole lot of pressure.

United States inevitably found the lead when Reyna supplied a decent pass through to Wright, who fired past Blake.

Jamaica had an opportunity to get back on level terms in the second half of extra time, but Romario Williams, who got through on goal, couldn’t bring ball under control to get a shot off.

However, Wright had no such issues, as he got on the end of another weighted Reyna pass and made no mistakes from deep inside the 18-yard box.

Despite being down, the Reggae Boyz fought on and created another opening, but Williams, who had space deep inside the 18-yard box, fired over the crossbar and that basically summed up the Jamaicans night in the final third.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.