Manchester City blew the Women’s Super League title race wide open after Khadija Shaw netted the winner in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea that took them level on points with the four-time defending champions at the summit.

The Jamaica international extended her Golden Boot-leading tally to 14 goals in 13 appearances, two more than Chelsea’s Lauren James, who was largely quiet in front of a sold-out Kingsmeadow.

Chelsea had what might have been an all-important penalty shout dismissed before the break and it took an outstanding effort by City keeper Khiara Keating to keep out the Blues in a thrilling second-half stoppage-time surge.

The top two sides head into their last eight matches level on 34 points and even on goal difference, with Chelsea’s 41 goals five more than City’s total, allowing them to remain leaders for another week.

It was Keating, who extended her WSL-leading clean sheet tally to seven, who was first called into action when Nathalie Bjorn nodded Erin Cuthbert’s corner in her direction.

Chelsea fell behind after 14 minutes when Jess Park dispossessed Cuthbert inside the hosts’ half and cut across to Shaw, who blasted the opener past Hannah Hampton, moments later coming close to another but dragging her shot wide before another effort was saved by the Blues keeper.

It was the beginning of a dominant spell for the visitors, who tested Hampton again through Laia Aleixandri’s header before Chelsea finally broke back and Guro Reiten was denied at the near post.

Chelsea wanted a penalty when Alex Greenwood broke up January signing Mayra Ramirez’s run at the edge of City’s six-yard box and in replays appeared not to touch the ball, but with no VAR in play referee Abigail Byrne dismissed the shout.

The Blues continued to apply pressure as an outstretched Keating was just able to get her fingertips on the edge of Fran Kirby’s effort across the face of goal following some excellent work by James in the build-up for the Blues’ best chance of the half.

It was a more aggressive Chelsea side who returned after the break, though it was Shaw who had the best early chance, Leila Ouahabi’s cross coming a bit too early as the striker stooped forward to meet it.

Chloe Kelly stung Hampton’s hands with just under 20 minutes remaining, the hosts then coming painfully close when Cuthbert aimed for the top corner, sending Keating into a dive and fans into a premature celebration as the skipper’s effort ultimately sailed wide.

City needed another goal to lift themselves into the top spot, but if anyone was going to change the scoreline it looked to be Chelsea, who dominated from the final 10 minutes through nine minutes of added time, when Keating made a huge stop to deny substitute Jelena Cankovic snatching a late leveller.

It was all Chelsea in the final, thrilling moments – but it was somehow still the visitors who walked away with all the spoils.

Jamaica and Manchester City superstar striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw is one of six nominees for the Barclays Women’s Super League (WSL) Player of the Month award for December.

Shaw strengthened her position at the top of the division’s goalscoring chart with a hat-trick in Manchester City’s 4-1 success over Everton on December 17 in Merseyside.

The Jamaican shrugged off the disappointment of missing an early penalty to break the deadlock with a sublime chip over Courtney Brosnan.

She then added to her tally with a clinical low finish before heading home City’s fourth after the interval to finish the scoring.

Shaw is now the leading scorer in the WSL with nine goals in as many league games.

Also nominated for the award is Shaw’s City teammate Lauren Hemp who got a pair of goals in the team’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa on December 9.

Manchester United’s Ella Toone, Liverpool’s Taylor Hinds, Leicester City’s Lena Petermann and Tottenham Hotspur’s Barbora Votikova complete the nominees.

 

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw continues to enjoy an outstanding individual campaign for Manchester City, and, as such, will end the year atop the Barclays Women’s Super League (WSL) scorers list.

The towering Jamaican striker has so far tallied 21 goals in a mere 10 games played so far in the 2023/24 season, and her feat has positioned Manchester City in second on 22 points, three behind leaders Chelsea.

Shaw’s rich vein of form puts her ahead of Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly (18), Bethany England (12) of Tottenham Hotspur, and Brighton Hove and Albion’s Elisabeth Terland (12) in the race for the Golden Boot, heading into the New Year.

The colourful exploits of the 26-year-old Reggae Girl should come as no surprise, as she merely picked up where she left off last season when she broke new ground by notching 31 goals in all competitions, a record across a single campaign for City’s women’s team.

During that season, Shaw was named Women’s Player of the Season in a fan vote, while she was also shortlisted for the Barclays Women’s Super League’s equivalent award.

Shaw finished the 2022/23 season with an astonishing 31 goals in all competitions, surpassing Nikita Parris’ previous highest total of 25 for a Women’s player across a single season. She achieved that tally in just 30 matches, meaning she found the net at a rate greater than once per game. 

When you add nine assists onto that total, her overall goal involvements for that campaign stand at an incredible 40. 

Shaw scored 20 of those goals in the WSL, two in as many UEFA Women’s Champions League matches, two in two Continental Cup fixtures, and an astonishing seven in three FA Cup appearances. 

And by all indications, there will be much more records and scoring feats to come for both Shaw and Manchester City, as her impressive journey will continue at the club until at least 2026.

A Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw hat trick powered Manchester City Women to an emphatic 4-1 victory over Everton Women at Walton Hall Park on Sunday.

It was the fourth win on the trot to Manchester City who now have 22 points for second place in the Women’s Super League as it heads into the winter break. Chelsea leads the table with 25 points from their 10 games this season.

Shaw, who missed a chance to put City ahead from the penalty spot in the eighth minute made amends just a minute later. Played in by Leila Ouahabi, Shaw spotting Brosnan off her line, dinked the ball over the goalkeeper from distance.

The Jamaican forward would double the lead in the 22nd minute when she turned away from her marker expertly before firing low into the far corner.

It didn’t take long for a third to come, three minutes, in fact following an eye of the needle pass from Hui Hasegawa found Chloe Kelly in behind, who cuts it back into the path of the onrushing Jill Roord, who buries the shot to give Manchester City a 3-0 half-time lead.

Everton pulled one back in the 56th minute when Aurora Galli’s vicious first-time drive left goalkeeper Khiara Keating with no chance, rifling off the post and into the top corner from the edge of the box.

However, Shaw restored City’s three-goal advantage when she scored brilliant diving header that caresses the ball back across the goal and into the far corner from Alex Greenwood’s corner to secure her team’s seventh victory of the season.

 

 

Manchester City came from a goal behind to beat Women’s Super League rivals Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils were awarded a penalty in the 20th minute as Alex Greenwood handled inside the area, with Katie Zelem slotting home to put them a goal up.

City were not behind for long and turned the game on its head with two goals inside a minute as Jill Roord slotted home the equaliser before Lauren Hemp curled in superb fashion from outside the area to make it 2-1.

The visitors ensured the three points as Khadija Shaw closed down a back-pass to Mary Earps, with the goalkeeper’s clearance bouncing off Shaw and going into the net to rubber-stamp the triumph.

Despite Laia Aleixandri’s second bookable offence for a foul on Lucia Garcia, City held on to move above United in the WSL.

Elsewhere, Arsenal secured their sixth win in all competitions with a convincing 3-0 victory over Brighton thanks to goals from Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum.

Bristol City twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Everton at Walton Hall Park while Tottenham’s unbeaten run continued with a 1-1 draw against Leicester.

Rachel Daly scored in stoppage time to help secure Aston Villa their second win of the season with a 3-2 victory over West Ham.

Reggae Girlz striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw continues to soak up compliments from her Manchester City family, as England international Alex Greenwood is the latest to praise her all-round abilities and believes the high profile Jamaican international can become the best player in the world.

Shaw, 26, has significantly impacted City Women’s team since signing with the north England club two years ago. Last season, the towering striker amassed 31 goals across all competitions which has propelled her to the pinnacle as the club’s leading scorer.

Last weekend, Shaw netted her first goals of the new Women’s Super League season with a double against Bristol City, adding to her FA Women’s League Cup goal against Everton earlier in the week.

And if manager Gareth Taylor’s sentiments about how influential Shaw is to the team wasn’t enough, Greenwood added her voice to the chorus.

“Her goal record speaks for itself, but Bunny is so much more than goals. What she brings to the team in terms of play, her work off the ball, and off the pitch – she is a top person. I think she can be the best in the world if she wants to be. She has all the attributes to be the best in the world, I know how hard she works in training,” Greenwood declared.

“It’s the reason she’s flourishing right now. She’s been really strong for us so we just need to keep feeding her, keep giving her the ball and the rest she’ll take care of. She’s a great person to be around and a really good friend of mine as well. She is someone I can demand really high standards of, and likewise she can of me and everyone else,” the 30-year-old centre back added.

Shaw first made her mark professionally with FC Bordeaux in 2019. During her time there, she scored 34 goals and won the Golden Boot, as she assisted the French club to Champions League qualification.

It came as no surprise when she moved to City where she made her mark in her first season in which she tallied with 16 goals.

Now installed as City’s point player in attack, following the retirement of veteran Ellen White, Shaw, with 24 goals in the league last term, broke the club’s record for the most Women’s Super League goals in a season.

Taylor reiterated his admiration for the Jamaican.

“I’m super proud of Bunny and all the players are. She understands the support and help she gets here to allow her to be herself. I think what she’s done is remarkable, really – to go from the first game of the season scoring and not really have a dry spell at all, maybe a couple of games,” Taylor said.

“She’s continued to score goals. She’s certainly a proven goalscorer, but it’s the types of goals she’s getting now and everything else she brings to us in the games. Her hold up play is phenomenal,” he noted.

Shaw’s could add to her tally when Manchester City visit Leicester City at King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Khadija “Bunny’ Shaw opened her account in the Women’s Super League this season, scoring twice in Manchester City’s 5-0 demolition of Bristol City Women at the Joie Stadium in Manchester.

Shaw, who scored her first goal of the season in Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Everton in the FA Women’s League Cup on Wednesday, scored two first-half goals in the lopsided victory.

The Jamaican striker scored in the 38th minute and in stoppage time after Jill Roord had opened the scoring from a close-range header in the ninth minute moments after a Shaw shot cannoned off the cross bar.

Laia Aleixandri headed into the net in the 33rd  minute before Shaw’s header made it 3-0 five minutes later. Roord would score her second early in stoppage time before the Jamaican capped a dominant half with another header before the break.

Manchester City were unable to add to the score in the second half but it mattered little as Bristol City had few opportunities to cut into the lead with only two shots in the game, one of them on target. By contrast, Shaw had five shots in the first half alone for her side that took 24 shots in the game, 12 of which were on target.

City enjoyed 81 per cent of the possession against Bristol City, who remain winless after three games and sit at the bottom of the 12 team table.

Shaw could have added to her tally having missed a header from inside the box in the 89th minute and her shot from the six-yard box in stoppage time was saved by goalkeeper Ffion Morgan, who had replaced Carrie Jones at the interval.

 

 

Expectations are high that Reggae Girl Khadija “Bunny” Shaw will enjoy another successful campaign to help Manchester City in their push to possibly cop a silverware this season.

The 26-year-old is already off to a good start, as she scored her first goal of the new campaign in City’s 2-1 win over Everton in FA Women’s League Cup action on Wednesday.

With a goal coming in her first start of the season, Shaw is expected to again lead the attack when Manchester City kick start Women’s Super League (WSL) action against Bristol City at Academy Stadium on Sunday.

With City currently third in the Women’s Super League standings on four points, Shaw said the expectations of her is no added pressure.

“No. No pressure. I love scoring goals and I always want to do my best to help the team,” she told SportsMax.TV.

Manager Gareth Taylor hailed the Jamaican for the leading role she has played since joining the club in 2021.

“She’s such an influential and a player the team looks to in terms of setting off everything we do whether it be attacking or without the ball,” Taylor said.

“She brings so much with her personality and the quality she has. It’s fantastic to have her back and nice for her to get off the mark so early in the season,” he added.

Shaw bagged 31 goals in all competitions last season which earned her City’s Player-of-the-Season award, as the club finished fourth in the league.

She then endured a busy summer, turning out for Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where the Caribbean side had an historic run to the round of 16 before bowing out to Colombia.

Shaw also featured in the Olympic qualifying playoff fixtures against Canada last month. She started in the home contest which the Girlz lost 0-2 but sat out the second leg encounter due to injury, as Canada won 2-1 in Toronto.

Taylor explained that Shaw needed to be managed properly once returning from international duty, which saw her miss the opener against West Ham, come off the bench against Chelsea before starting and playing an hour against Everton.

“Bunny had an unfortunate issue when she came back from Jamaica,” Taylor declared.

“The season she had last year and playing the role she did against Everton the other night, she created Jess Park’s goal and scored before we took her off,” he noted.

 

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz battled bravely, but were unable to deny Canada, who registered a 2-1 scoreline in second-leg action of the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying playoff, on their return home at a sold-out BMO Field in Toronto, on Tuesday.

Unlike the first leg at Jamaica’s National Stadium where they were easy 2-0 winners, Canada, the reigning Olympic champions, came from behind on this occasion, to wrap up a 4-1 aggregate win and join United States as the confederation’s representatives in next year’s Paris Games.

Cloe Lacasse (39th) and substitute Jordyn Huitema (50th), did the damage for Bev Priestman’s side, after Drew Spence’s 33rd-minute strike offered Lorne Donaldson and his Reggae Girlz a glimmer of hope.

While Canada, by virtue of the win, also confirmed the second automatic spot in the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, the Jamaicans will have to quickly regain their confidence for meetings with Panama and Guatemala next month, which represents their opportunity to secure Gold Cup qualification.

Tuesday’s task for was always expected to be a difficult one for the Reggae Girlz, as Canada, playing at home for the first time in over a year, were brimming with confidence on the back of a two-goal advantage from the first leg.

Though Donaldson ringed in the changes, five to be exact, with talismanic striker Khadija "Bunny" Shaw and Jody Brown, out with injuries, it meant little to the Canadians, who went about business in a no-nonsense manner.

They required only two minutes to fire the first warning shot, as Adriana Leon unleashed from just outside the 18-yard box, but the effort was swallowed up by Rebecca Spencer, who produced another workmanlike performance in goal for Jamaica.

As Canada continued to show enterprise and mounted early pressure, the Reggae Girlz held their own defensively, as they ensured the opponent’s hunt for goals turned out fruitless at that point.

In fact, the Jamaicans were not without hope on the attacking front, and it was one of their occasional push forward that resulted in the opening goal.

Atlanta Primus’s initial effort from a distance was handled at the top of the arc by a defender and it was left for Spence to step up and convert a delightful free kick beating Kailen Sheridan diving full stretch to her right.

Canada launched a series of attacks in their probe for the equalizer and almost pulled level in the 35th, as a corner kick taken by Leon was headed on by Deneisha Blackwood. Fortunately for the Jamaican left-back, the crossbar was in the way.

The host again went close when Ashley Lawrence drove a stinging right-footer from a distance that Spencer tipped unto the crossbar and Primus, who dropped back to assist with defending, forced the ball out for a corner.

Leon served up a perfectly weighted delivery from the resulting corner and Lacasse rose above her markers to head home from close range to make it 1-1 heading into the break.

Though the Reggae Girlz were chasing the game, the manner in which they came out on the resumption said otherwise.

As such, their hopes of mounting a comeback were dented five minutes in, when Blackwood’s unforced error, allowed Lawrence to float a cross in for unmarked substitute Huitema to nod home.

Canada should have added another in the 62nd as another defensive error by captain Allyson Swaby, allowed another substitute, Christine Sinclair through on goal, but the legendary striker failed to add to her 190-goal tally, as her effort went straight at Spencer.

In the 72nd, Sinclair again found space in the 18-yard box for a right-footer that went just wide of the left upright.

The Girlz tried to play their game but were unable to cause any real problems in the attacking third. Instead, it was Canada, who asserted authority in the latter stages, and it took another big save from Spencer, who left her line well, to deny 19-year-old substitute Olivia Smith in time added.

Jamaica...0

Canada...2

Prince (18th), Leon (90+2)

Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz dreams of an historic Olympic Games qualification is all but up in smoke, as they suffered a 0-2 defeat to Canada in their first-leg playoff encounter at the National Stadium on Friday. 

Goals from Nichelle Prince in the 18th and the menacing Adriana Leon in the 90+2 minutes was enough to lift the Bev Priestman-coached reigning Olympic champions to a crucial advantage heading into Tuesday's second leg which will be played before a sold-out crowd at BMO Field in Toronto.

For Lorne Donaldson and his Girlz it will be a case of pulling off the improbable win in a hostile environment, if they are to progress.

The Girlz started out fairly disciplined, as they were quick on the ball and did well to contain Canada in the early exchanges. 

In fact, the Girlz looked more threatening in opening play, but their first real chance in the final third came from Deneisha Blackwood’s teasing 10th-minute free kick, which had to be mopped up by the Canadian defenders. 

Such was the Girlz discipline when they gradually gained the ascendancy that Canada was hardly allowed to play their usual fluent passing game to get into the final third.

Instead, they were on the back foot and almost found themselves a goal down in the 14th minute. This, as Jody Brown was sent on the break by Atlanta Primus, but the diminutive forward’s shot was charged down by a defender. 

All the Reggae Girlz hard work was undone in the 18th when poor positioning by Blackwood allowed Ashley Lawrence to slip further down the right channel and deliver a weighted cross, which was expertly headed in by Prince, giving Rebecca Spencer no chance at a save.

Still, the Girlz fought on and again went close in the 29th courtesy of Brown, who orchestrated a tidy build up and picked out Cheyna Matthews on the left, but the run amounted to nothing.

Matthews again went on the break five minutes later, as she shook her defender and should have initially struck a left footer, but was hesitant in doing so. When she belatedly got a shot off her favoured right foot, her marker had already recovered and averted the danger.

Though the score remained unchanged at half-time, the Jamaicans seemingly failed to recover from the manner in which they ended the first half. A defensive lapse immediately on the resumption allowed Leon through on goal and it took a tidy save from Spencer to deny her.

Canada again went close from the resulting corner with Prince's effort from the top of the 18-yard box rattling the crossbar. 

By virtue of pushing a high line in their probe for the equalizer, the Girlz absorbed some amount of pressure from Canada's break, as Leon got by Konya Plummer a couple of times but found Spencer in her way.

The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper did her utmost best to keep the Girlz in the game as she was again called upon when Cloe Lacasse got away down the left channel in the 64th and struck a left-footed effort which Spencer had to parry at her near post.

The Girlz had their best chance of the second half a minute later when substitute Tiffany Cameron’s shot from a rebound went just over the crossbar, after Khadija “Bunny” Shaw's initial effort was thwarted by Vanessa Gilles. 

But just when the moderate turnout in the stadium may have harboured a glimmer of hope that the Girlz would pull one back, Leon broke their hearts with a cheeky finish at Spencer’s near post from a Julia Grosso cross to put Canada 2-0 up.

Despite being down, the Jamaicans continued the push to at least reduce the deficit, but when Plummer fired a tame left-footed effort straight at Canada’s goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, deep inside added time, it all but summed up their lukewarm evening.

Teams: Jamaica -Rebecca Spencer, Allyson Swaby, Konya Plummer, Tiernny Wiltshire, Deneisha Blackwood, Vyan Sampson, Drew Spence, Jody Brown (Solai Washington 55th), Atlanta Primus (Kayla McKenna 71st), Cheyna Matthews (Tiffany Cameron 55th), Khadija Shaw

Subs not used: Sydney Schneider, Liya Brooks, Sashana Campbell, Chantelle Swaby, Kameron Simmonds, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Trudi Carter, Shaneil Buckley, Paige Bailey-Gayle

Booked: None

Canada -Kailen Sheridan, Sydney Collins, Kadeisha Buchanan, Rebecca Quinn, Ashley Lawrence (Gabby Carle 82nd), Vanessa Gilles, Nichelle Prince (Jordyn Huitema 64th), Jessie Fleming (Julia Grosso 79th), Adriana Leon, Cloe Lacasse, Jade Rose (Shelina Zadorsky 79th)

Subs not used: Lysianne Proulx, Sabrina D'Angelo, Olivia Smith, Marie-Yasmine Alidou, Evelyne Viens, Christine Sinclair, Simi Awujo, Bianca St-Georges 

Booked: Gillies (54th), Grosso (90+5)

Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva (USA)

Assistant referees: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA); Felisha Mariscal (USA)

Fourth official: Natalie Simon (USA)

Match Commissary: Techell McLean (SKN)

Powerade on Wednesday announced the addition of Jamaica and Manchester City forward, Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, as its brand ambassador for the next two years.

The 26-year-old Shaw, the first Jamaican to ever be nominated for the Ballon d'Or, is pleased to be on board. 

"For me, personally, as I continue to grow and evolve as a human being, I want to always bring awareness as well as motivate and inspire young girls and young boys to believe in themselves and their dreams and know that with hard work anything is possible," Shaw said.

"I think with me partnering with Powerade, I truly believe that we can help to inspire and motivate young boys and girls," she added.

Andrew Mahfood, CEO of Powerade distributor Wisynco Group, said the company has known Shaw since high school.

"At Wisynco, we have been following Bunny for years, since our Coca-Cola trophy tour, and it is unbelievable to see Bunny's dream unfold before our eyes," Mahfood said.

Powerade's brand manager, Chantelle McDonald, explained the rationale for Powerade.

"As a born and raised Jamaican, Bunny is not just a footballer; she is a symbol of dedication, perseverance, unmatched skill and an inspiration for women and girls in the sport. From humble beginnings to top scorer, she plays an integral part in the rise and significance of women's football in Jamaica. We are proud to have her represent Powerade."

Powerade will support any outreach activities Shaw plans to carry out in Jamaica as part of the partnership. Shaw will also appear in Powerade's advertising campaigns and make appearances on behalf of the brand.

 

Jamaica’s historic run at the Fifa Women’s World Cup, came to an end, as they conceded their first goal of the tournament which proved their undoing in a 0-1 loss to Colombia on Tuesday.

The Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, in Australia, where the Reggae Girlz etched their names in the annals of global sporting history, when they denied the mighty Brazil in a goalless draw last week, has ironically become the place of their own farewell, courtesy of captain Catalina Usme’s decisive strike in the 51st minute.

Though it was their most underwhelming performance of the tournament, in which they also held France to a goalless stalemate and defeated Panama 1-0, the Reggae Girlz had much to take heart from, as their run on this second-consecutive appearance, described by many as a fairytale, was nothing short of remarkable.

By virtue of merely making the Round of 16, the 43rd-ranked Jamaicans became the first Caribbean nation –male or female – to play in the knockout stages of the World Cup, since Cuba’s feat in 1938.

Still, for Head coach Lorne Donaldson, that meant very little to ease the disappointment. Instead, his focus was more on how they can capitalise on the successes of this tournament to not only sustain, but more importantly, build the programme going forward.

“It was a decent game, but Colombia played better so they deserve the win. We played hard and it has been a good run for us…nobody likes to lose but Colombia threw the knockout punch. We knew if we gave up a goal, we had to score goals and we didn’t do that.

“So like I said, it was an amazing run, an amazing feat and I am happy for the Girlz that they got here but give Colombia credit,” Donaldson said in a post-game interview.

“I don’t care about history; I just want us to build on what we just did. We can be better, so let us just build on this,” he added.

Captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw echoed similar sentiments.

“We didn’t perform as well as we should have so we will just have to come together as a group, not just individually, but as a group and look at what we did wrong so we can perfect it going forward. This run means a lot though and it shows that if you believe and you work hard, then anything is possible,” said Shaw.

“We came out, we held our own and we played hard, but its football, you win some and you lose some. We just have to lift our heads high be proud of ourselves, as you can see the gap is closing between the small islands and the bigger countries so this just goes to show that women’s football is growing and we have to keep moving forward and keep pushing it and hopefully we can get it as far as possible,” she stated.

After playing out a goalless first half where chances were at a premium, in front of a massive crowd of over 27,000 dominated by Colombians, it was only fitting that the South Americans gave them something to cheer about, and that they did.

With only six minutes on the clock after the resumption, a delightful long ball from Ana Guzman to switch the point of attack, deceived Jamaica’s left-back Deneisha Blackwood, who stepped too early and was beaten by the flight leaving Usme unmarked at the far post.

While Blackwood gradually recovered to apply some semblance of pressure, the 33-year-old Usme, was cool, calm, collected and steered a left-footer past Rebecca Spencer, who was beaten for the first time this tournament.

That goal was the wakeup call the Jamaicans needed to inject some tempo into their attacking thrust and they could have immediately pulled level from a set play.

This, as Blackwood’s weighted free kick found Jody Brown at the far post, but the diminutive forward slammed her header at the base of the upright.

The introduction of Tiffany Cameron added some impetus to Jamaica’s attack, which was well off colour, as they struggled to complete passes and create anything too meaningful to worry the Colombians.

In fact, their next best effort came in the 82nd minute when Cameron’s weighted cross from the right, fell nicely for Spence, whose header just went wide of the right upright.

Donaldson signalled his intentions to go for broke with the introduction of 19-year-old World Cup debutant Kameron Simmonds and the experience Cheyna Matthews in attack, but the move proved fruitless.

Instead, it was Colombia that almost had another when a dangerous cross from Usme, dipped well enough for Leicy Santos, who applied a timely diving header that had Spencer beaten, but couldn’t beat the left upright, five minutes from time.

The Jamaicans will next turn their focus to the upcoming Olympic qualifying playoff fixtures against Canada in September.

Teams: Jamaica –Rebecca Spencer, Allyson Swaby, Chantelle Swaby, Deneisha Blackwood, Tiernny Wiltshire (Cheyna Matthews 83rd), Drew Spence, Vyan Sampson (Peyton McNamara 79th), Jody Brown (Kameron Simmonds 83rd), Trudi Carter (Tiffany Cameron 67th), Kalyssa Van Zanten (Atlanta Primus 46th), Khadija Shaw

Subs not used: Sydney Schneider, Liya Brooks, Havana Solaun, Paige Bailey-Gayle, Solai Washington, Konya Plummer, Kayla McKenna

Booked: C Swaby (41st), Spence (45+1)

Colombia –Catalina Perez, Daniela Arias, Diana Ospina, Lorena Bedoya, Mayra Ramirez, Leicy Santos (Daniela Montoya 87th), Catalina Usme (Marcela Restrepo 90+2), Ana Guzman, Carolina Arias, Linda Caicedo, Jorelyn Carabali

Subs not used: Sandra Sepulveda, Natalia Giraldo, Camila Reyes, , Angela Baron, Lady Andrade, Monica Ramos, Ivonne Chacon, Daniela Caracas, Elexa Bahr

Booked: D Arias (70th)

Referee: Kate Jacewicz (AUS)

Assistant referees: Kyoungmin Kim (KOR); Joanna Charaktis (AUS)

Fourth official: Marta Huerta (ESP)

Jamaica’s historic run at the Fifa Women’s World Cup, came to an end, as they conceded their first goal of the tournament which proved their undoing in a 0-1 loss to Colombia on Tuesday.

The Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, in Australia, where the Reggae Girlz etched their names in the annals of global sporting history, when they denied the mighty Brazil in a goalless draw last week, has ironically become the place of their own farewell, courtesy of captain Catalina Usme’s decisive strike in the 51st minute.

Though it was their most underwhelming performance of the tournament, in which they also held France to a goalless stalemate and defeated Panama 1-0, the Reggae Girlz had much to take heart from, as their run on this second-consecutive appearance, described by many as a fairytale, was nothing short of remarkable.

By virtue of merely making the Round of 16, the 43rd-ranked Jamaicans became the first Caribbean nation –male or female – to play in the knockout stages of the World Cup, since Cuba’s feat in 1938.

Still, for Head coach Lorne Donaldson, that meant very little to ease the disappointment. Instead, his focus was more on how they can capitalise on the successes of this tournament to not only sustain, but more importantly, build the programme going forward.

“It was a decent game, but Colombia played better so they deserve the win. We played hard and it has been a good run for us…nobody likes to lose but Colombia threw the knockout punch. We knew if we gave up a goal, we had to score goals and we didn’t do that.

“So like I said, it was an amazing run, an amazing feat and I am happy for the Girlz that they got here but give Colombia credit,” Donaldson said in a post-game interview.

“I don’t care about history; I just want us to build on what we just did. We can be better, so let us just build on this,” he added.

Captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw echoed similar sentiments.

“We didn’t perform as well as we should have so we will just have to come together as a group, not just individually, but as a group and look at what we did wrong so we can perfect it going forward. This run means a lot though and it shows that if you believe and you work hard, then anything is possible,” said Shaw.

“We came out, we held our own and we played hard, but its football, you win some and you lose some. We just have to lift our heads high be proud of ourselves, as you can see the gap is closing between the small islands and the bigger countries so this just goes to show that women’s football is growing and we have to keep moving forward and keep pushing it and hopefully we can get it as far as possible,” she stated.

After playing out a goalless first half where chances were at a minimum, in front of a massive crowd of over 27,000 dominated by Colombians, it was only fitting that the South Americans gave them something to cheer about, and that they did.

With only six minutes on the clock after the resumption, a delightful long ball from Ana Guzman to switch the point of attack, deceived Jamaica’s left-back Deneisha Blackwood, who stepped too early and was beaten by the flight leaving Usme on marked at the far post.

While Blackwood gradually recovered to apply some semblance of pressure, the 33-year-old Usme, was cool, calm, collected and steered a left-footer past Rebecca Spencer, who was beaten for the first time this tournament.

That goal was the wakeup call the Jamaicans needed to inject some tempo into their attacking thrust and they could have immediately pulled level from a set play.

This, as Blackwood’s weighted free kick found Jody Brown at the far post, but the diminutive forward slammed her header at the base of the upright.

The introduction of Tiffany Cameron added some impetus to Jamaica’s attack, which was well off colour, as they struggled to complete passes and create anything too meaningful to worry the Colombians.

In fact, their next best effort came in the 82nd minute when Cameron’s weighted cross from the right, fell nicely for Spence, whose header just went wide of the right upright.

Donaldson signalled his intentions to go for broke with the introduction of 19-year-old World Cup debutant Kameron Simmonds and the experience Cheyna Matthews in attack, but the move proved fruitless.

Instead, it was Colombia that almost had another when a dangerous cross from Usme, dipped well enough for Leicy Santos, who applied a timely diving header that had Spencer beaten, but couldn’t beat the left upright five minutes from time.

The Jamaicans will next turn their focus to the upcoming Olympic qualifying playoff fixtures against Canada in September.

Teams: Jamaica –Rebecca Spencer, Allyson Swaby, Chantelle Swaby, Deneisha Blackwood, Tiernny Wiltshire (Cheyna Matthews 83rd), Drew Spence, Vyan Sampson (Peyton McNamara 79th), Jody Brown (Kameron Simmonds 83rd), Trudi Carter (Tiffany Cameron 67th), Kalyssa Van Zanten (Atlanta Primus 46th), Khadija Shaw

Subs not used: Sydney Schneider, Liya Brooks, Havana Solaun, Paige Bailey-Gayle, Solai Washington, Konya Plummer, Kayla McKenna

Booked: C Swaby (41st), Spence (45+1)

Colombia –Catalina Perez, Daniela Arias, Diana Ospina, Lorena Bedoya, Mayra Ramirez, Leicy Santos (Daniela Montoya 87th), Catalina Usme (Marcela Restrepo 90+2), Ana Guzman, Carolina Arias, Linda Caicedo, Jorelyn Carabali

Subs not used: Sandra Sepulveda, Natalia Giraldo, Camila Reyes, , Angela Baron, Lady Andrade, Monica Ramos, Ivonne Chacon, Daniela Caracas, Elexa Bahr

Booked: D Arias (70th)

Referee: Kate Jacewicz (AUS)

Assistant referees: Kyoungmin Kim (KOR); Joanna Charaktis (AUS)

Fourth official: Marta Huerta (ESP)

In another breathtaking display of grit, stubborn determination and just pure heart, Lorne Donaldson’s Reggae Girlz once again rewrote their names in the annals of Jamaica’s and the world’s sporting history, in more ways than one.

Not only did the Jamaicans hold mighty Brazil to their first goalless stalemate in a group stage at the Fifa Women’s World Cup, but also secured a spot in the knockout stages for the first time in the tiny island's history, and they did so without conceding a goal.

Such statistics in what many will describe as a fairytale run – particularly when their first appearance at the 2019 showpiece in France is taken into consideration –is both emotional and exciting at the same time.

During that 2019 debut, the Reggae Girlz conceded 12 goals, losing all three games to Brazil, Italy and Australia. Now four years later, they held France to a goalless stalemate, defeated Panama and denied Brazil a spot in the Round of 16 for the first time since 1995.

The Reggae Girlz, who finished second on five points behind Group F winner France, who defeated Panama 6-3 in the other contest, will next face the winner of Group H, which is either Colombia or Germany, in Round of 16 action in Adelaide, next week.

Donaldson, who heaped praises on his team for their resilience in rising above challenges both on and off the field, said Jamaicans, both home and abroad, should be proud, as the achievement came a day after the country celebrated Emancipation Day and only a few days before celebrating its 61st year of Independence.

“This is one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life, just to see these Girlz and see a country like Jamaica able to achieve this is just unbelievable. I thank the Girlz for doing this for Jamaica and the country should be proud,” Donaldson declared in a post-game interview.

“The resilience and the fight, we knew we were coming into a war, and we had to be ready, and we stood tall in the battle, and we won. We still have some more work to do but we will just enjoy tonight,” he added.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer, put the team’s emotions into words.

“We are a team that goes through so much off the pitch no one else believes in us, the ones above us don’t believe in us but we believe in ourselves and as you can see from that performance today, we knew we could do it inside our group,” she said.

“It was tough to hold Brazil, but we proved it against France that we can do it, and it is not just one person, it is not just the defence but the entire team. Like I said, the ones above us don’t believe in us and they always put us through things that we don’t want to go through but that just gives us more fire in our veins to go out there and do well,” Spencer shared.  

With Marta starting the match for the first time in the group stage, Brazil maintained possession for most of the first half, but struggled to really test Spencer, much to the disappoint of the South Americans that dominated a crowd of just under 28,000 in the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

The Jamaicans, who seemingly thrive when their backs are against the wall, defended stoutly, as they absorbed pressure and answered all questions asked of them by the Brazilians.

Still, the Girlz did display some attacking intent even though they were unable to get anything on Brazil’s goal.

Brazil’s best chance of the game came in the 39th minute, when a delightful chip pass from Ary Borges found Tamires, who met it on the volley with the left-foot, but Spencer proved equal to it.

Brazil lifted the tempo in the second half, as they chased the goal needed to advance, but it was not to be.

A free kick from substitute Andressa and a header from Debinha in stoppage time represented Brazil’s closest chance of scoring the winning goal, as Jamaica’s organized defense stifled the South Americans throughout the game.

Teams: Rebecca Spencer, Chantelle Swaby, Allyson Swaby, Tiernny Wiltshire, Deneisha Blackwood, Drew Spence, Atlanta Primus, Jody Brown (Solai Washington 85th), Vyan Sampson, Cheyna Matthews (Tiffany Cameron 46th), Khadija Shaw

Subs not used: Sydney Schneider, Liya Brooks, Konya Plummer, Havana Solaun, Kalyssa Van Zanten, Paige Bailey-Gayle, Kameron Simmonds, Kayla McKenna, Peyton McNamara, Trudi Carter

Booked: Matthews (30th)

Brazil –Leticia, Antonia (Geyse 80th), Kathellen, Rafaelle, Luana (Duda Sampaio 80th), Tamires, Debinha, Marta (Andressa 80th), Adriana, Ary Borges (Bia Zaneratto 46th), Kerolin

Subs not used: Barbara, Camila, Ana Vitoria, Bruninha, Lauren, Monica, Angelina, Gabi Nunes

Booked:

Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI)

Assistant referees: Katrin Rafalski (GER); Susanne Kueng (SUI)

Fourth official: Vincentia Amedome (TOG)

If you ask Head coach Lorne Donaldson about Jamaica’s women’s football legacy, he will tell you that it started from their campaign to the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France, when they initially demonstrated utter resilience to accomplish the historic feat.

Then, the Reggae Girlz programme, through the unwavering commitment of women’s football ambassador Cedella Marley, as well as the Bob Marley and Reggae Girlz Foundations, experienced what could only be described as a rebirth from the ashes, after it was discarded and literally forgotten about by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

Since then, the players and coaching staff –much like Marley –adopted the mentality to always focus on the task at hand, despite the financial shortfalls and other proverbial brick walls faced along the way.

So though much has been said about their recent exploits, Donaldson declared that what the world is once again witnessing is the remarkable grit of the Reggae Girlz outfit, as the players are no longer intimidated by obstacles, particularly those that come in the form of competition.

“When we got to that World Cup in 2019, I was the assistant and Hue Menzies, big praises to him, we worked together that squad, but we weren’t planning on going to the World Cup. Cedella Marley was brave in calling us up and having us help out because the football in Jamaica had diminished and we put it together and miraculously we got to the World Cup,” Donaldson shared.

 “Now we think we can take it further. So, the legacy started from there, but we still have a long way to go to achieve what countries like Brazil and others have achieved, so for now we are just trying to grow,” he added.

Donaldson’s views follow the Girlz momentous run at the ongoing showpiece being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, as they are on the cusp of bringing a dream to fruition and, by extension, rewriting their names in the annals of Jamaica’s sporting history.

To do that, the 43rd-ranked Reggae Girlz require only a point off number eight-ranked Brazil in their decisive Group F encounter at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Wednesday.

Kickoff is 5:00am Jamaica time.

The Girlz, who secured an historic point of top-ranked France in a goalless stalemate, followed that up with their first ever World Cup win by virtue of a 1-0 scoreline over Panama, to currently sit second on four points.

Leaders France are also on four points, but with a slightly better goal difference, which matters little, as they are overwhelmingly favoured to snare all three points off Panama.

Pia Sundhage's Brazil side is third on three points and must beat Donaldson’s side, if they are to progress from the group stage for a seventh-consecutive Women's World Cup.

Though on paper the Brazilians are heavily favoured to achieve their objective, the Reggae Girlz have proven that they are not to be underestimated and they possess the willpower to once again shock the world of women’s football.

And Donaldson agrees that the Jamaicans faith are in their own hands.

"Brazil is a powerhouse and I think we relish the challenge, all along we knew we were coming in as underdogs, even throughout the qualifiers we were underdogs. So, it's nothing new to us, we have to just be ready to come out and try to match them as best as we can,” Donaldson said.

“I said it before that we have grown from the qualification phase in Mexico because we really haven't had a lot of games after that and like I said, the players are resilient, they have worked hard and I know they would want to stay (in Australia) a bit longer, so we are going to come out and give it our best,” he noted.

While Brazil suffered defeat to France, Donaldson is under no illusions that they will approach tomorrow’s game with the same tactics, especially with Reggae Girlz talismanic captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw set to return from a red card suspension.

Shaw, along with Cheyna Matthews is expected to rejoin Jody Brown up in attack, while Donaldson and his assistants could stick with Drew Spence, Vyan Sampson and Atlanta Primus, in midfield.

At the back, Rebecca Spencer should again be shadowed by Swaby sisters, Allyson and Chantelle, flanked by Deneisha Blackwood on the left, while Tiernny Wiltshire could reclaim her staring spot at right back.

“I'm sure Brazil will make the adjustments from what happened in that France game, obviously we will try to limit some stuff and just use what we think we are capable of doing,” Donaldson shared.

“There are nerves but we just have to go in and enjoy it, we don’t have anything to lose, we just have to go out enjoy ourselves and play. A player like “Bunny” Shaw is going to pose problem for anybody, we are happy to have her back and obviously we can use her in areas that we didn't against Panama and try to be effective, but everybody has to do their job,” he ended.

Page 1 of 3
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.