Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz are in the Final Round!

BY IAN BURNETT – Observer Sports Editor

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dane Richards (left) shields the ball against captain George Dublin of Antigua & Barbuda during their CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying match at the National Stadium last night. Jamaica won 4-1. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

DANE Richards hit a late brace to propel Jamaica into the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Series following a 4-1 triumph over Antigua and Barbuda (A&B) at the National Stadium last evening.
Demar Phillips, the wily left wing-back, had given the Boyz the perfect start with a 16thminute lead and central defender Nyron Nosworthy followed up a minute later to set the tone for the remainder of the match. However, loose play yet again gifted the visitors the lead via a cute free kick from Quinton Griffith just after the hour mark.
The result pushed Jamaica to 10 points in the four-team Group A, the same as Guatemala, who suffered a 1-3 loss to the United States in Kansas City. The US topped the group with 13 points, while A&B remained rooted at the bottom with a solitary point.
The Boyz advanced ahead of Guatemala, who defeated them 2-1 last Friday, with a better goal difference. The Boyz ended with a +3, while Guatemala ended with a +1.
In front of a disappointingly poor crowd, Jamaica went on the attack from early, employing a 4-3-3 formation, but they had little to show for their efforts as A&B sat back in defence, while trying to surprise the hosts with counterattacking forays.
In fact, A&B created the first real chance at goal when Luke George headed over the crossbar uncontested from a long throw in the penalty area.

Reggae Boy Tramaine Stewart (right) confronts Antigua & Barbuda goalkeeper Molvin James during their 2014 World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium last night. Jamaica won 4-1. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
But the Reggae Boyz continued to probe and duly got their reward in the 17th minute when a clearance from a Jamaican corner fell to Jermaine Hue, just outside the penalty area, and the diminutive midfield maestro smartly relayed a pass to Phillips, who needed no invitation to crack a wicked pile driver which took a cruel deflection on its way into the goal to spark wild celebration from the few spectators inside the National Stadium.
The Boyz were on the rampage and within a minute they found the target again when the Nosworthy headed home his first goal for Jamaica from a Rodolph Austin left-sided corner.
The A&B goal was under siege, but the Boyz, as they were against Guatemala last Friday, proved profligate, especially captain Luton Shelton, who was played through with a sweetly-timed pass from Tramaine Stewart, but after bobbing and weaving his way past a hapless defender, he blasted a left-footer wild and wide of the target, when it seemed much easier to score.
Goals were needed and the Boyz continued their push towards the end of the first half, with Hue having an effort cleared off the line and Stewart forcing goalkeeper Molvin James into a fine low save.
When Costa Rican referee Walter Quesada Cordero signalled the half-time break, the visitors appeared the far more relieved of the two teams.
The second half resumed in the same fashion as the first, with Stewart going pretty close when he carved open the Antiguan defence, thanks to smart off the ball movement by Ryan Johnson, but the little player could not match his final effort with the industry he displayed in creating the chance.
Then, as happened all campaign, the Boyz gifted the Eastern Caribbean side a goal and created unnecessary panic within their ranks and that of the spectators.
Nosworthy dallied for much too long and lost possession just outside his penalty box, before eventually committing a foul, and Griffith made the Boyz pay with a decent curler into the goal.
The Boyz were now in danger of losing out on a place in the final round but, cometh the hour cometh the man. Hue, the man held out of the team for much of the campaign, started creating opportunities for the front runners, while keeping the attack fluid.
But it was Rodolph Austin who did all the hard work for the third goal in the 78th minute. After a series of interplays, he burst through the A&B defence, rounded his marker wide inside the penalty box before pulling the ball back for Richards to sweep home and put the Boyz back in control.
Hue is renown for his excellent passing ability and he didn’t disappoint when, with two minutes remaining, he produced possibly the pass of the game with a pinpoint diagonal pass on the boot of Richards inside the box to slot past the advancing James in goal, thus calming all nerves and assuring the Boyz of victory and a place in next year’s final round alongside five other teams — Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and the United States.
In this round the teams will play each other home and away from next March through November, where the top three teams, on points garnered, will gain automatic berths to the Brazil 2014 World Cup Finals, with the fourth-placed team facing the winner of the Oceania group in a two-way play-off for the final spot to Brazil.

Gleaner report: Reggae Boyz's dream lives on!

Gleaner Lead  – Oct 17 2012 Jamaica defeat Antigua 4-1 to advance to final round of World Cup 2014 qualifiers

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz kept their hopes of advancing to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil alive following a 4-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda at the National Stadium last night.

Two goals from striker Dane Richards and one each from Demar Phillips and defender Nyron Nosworthy rescued the national team from a previously precarious position. The Boyz, however, truth be told, had plenty of help from their neighbours to the north - the United States.
The USA ended Guatemala's hopes of advancing following a 3-1 win, in Kansas City, and in the process aided Jamaica's cause of progressing to the final round by virtue of a superior goal difference.
The team's hopes of progressing beyond the semi-final round had looked bleak following a loss to Guatemala last Friday, which had put the Boyz three points behind both Group A leaders.

Brilliant Boyz advance

Published: Gleaner | Wednesday | October 17, 2012

Jamaica's captain Luton Shelton (21) in action during last night's World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium. Jamaica won 4-1 to advance to next year's final round of qualifiers. photos by Ricardo Makyn
Audley Boyd, Gleaner Assistant Editor - Sport

Richards' double seals the deal for Jamaica

JAMAICA'S Reggae Boyz did what they had to, to beat Antigua and Barbuda by at least a two-goal margin.

Then with big help from the United States, who hammered Guatemala 3-1, they claimed their place in the six-nation CONCACAF Finals for 2014 World Cup by finishing second in Group A semi-final competition with 10 points and a superior goal difference to Guatemala.
Dane Richards (78th, 88th) netted a second-half double as the Boyz delivered big time at 'The Office' yesterday evening with a 4-1 victory over Guatemala. Demar Phillips (17th) and Nyron Nosworthy (18th) were the other scorers.
Quintin Griffith (61st) was on target for Antigua and Barbuda.
Jamaica entered the game with seven points and a zero goal difference, while Guatemala and the United States, who kicked off simultaneously in Kansas City, had 10 points and similar plus-three goal differential.
For Jamaica to advance, it meant one had to lose and the corresponding scores add up to give Jamaica a superior goal difference over the loser.
The United States' win pushed them to 13 points and top of the group, while Jamaica and Guatemala ended on 10 points.
Only the top two qualify, and they will play the other top two qualifiers from groups B and C to earn a place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. That competition will be played from February to November next year and the top three will automatically win a place in Brazil. The fourth-place team will play off against the Oceania champion for another spot.
Dane Richards, who scored a brace to ensure Jamaica move on in the World Cup qualifiers, is congratulated after the match.
Jamaica dominated their do-or-die match last night from start to finish and would have won by a much wider margin with better finishing.
Jamaica forced their opponents right back against their goal as Jermaine Hue, who gave a domineering performance all night, pulled the strings.
The early pressure paid off with the opening goal at the 17th minute.
The Antigua and Barbuda defence failed to properly deal with a clearance, sending the ball out to left-sided Demar Phillips about 30 yards from goal. With acres of space and time, Phillips set up himself, then drilled a low shot past goalkeeper Molvin James.
Before the celebrations had subsided, Jamaica doubled their lead the next minute when central defender Nyron Nosworthy met a Luton Shelton cross at the near post and headed home.
With news of the US-Guatemala scoreline coming in, the crowd erupted as the 3-1 result up North meant Jamaica were in a solid position to advance.
Jamaica ended the first half by creating a flurry of scoring chances. Right at the interval, James advanced from his line to charge down a Phillips shot from near six yards; a defender cleared Hue's shot off the goal line from the other side; and Ryan Johnson missed a cross from Shelton.
On the restart, there was no change and after eight minutes, Tramaine Stewart made a clear chance with a dribble to the edge of the area. However, his chip went wide of goal.
However, stagnation around the goal area played into counter-attacking minded Antigua's hands and central defender Nosworthy dabbled with possession and gave up a free kick in the dangerous area outside the box.
Griffith curled a beauty over the wall to score and reduce the deficit.
The anxiety was reflected in silence over the near 10,000 throng inside the stadium and seemed to have affected the team as its level dropped. They were now in a disadvantageous position as far as qualifying was concerned.
Whitmore went to his bench, replacing the ineffective Shelton with Joel Senior, and pushing Stewart further up the park.
Jamaica's ace midfielder Jermaine Hue (16) hurdles a tackle from Antigua and Barbuda's defender, Luke Blakely.
The inspiration the team were really seeking, would come though, when a rather sedate Rodolph Austin produced a moment of brilliance by driving past three opponents into the box, before cutting back the ball perfectly for Richards to score.
Before the night ended, Richards would add more insurance to Jamaica's position. The maestro Hue floated a perfect pass from his half, that Richards met on the outside of a defender and volleyed past the advancing goalkeeper to make the final score 4-1.
Also advancing to the CONCACAF Finals after yesterday's final set of matches were Group B's Mexico and Costa Rica and Honduras and Panama from Group C.

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