Jamaica advance to Gold Cup semis with 2-1 win over Canada

Jul 9, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Jamaica celebrates a goal by forward Darren Mattocks (10) against Curacao during the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz turned back Canada 2-1 in a thrilling Gold Cup quarterfinal match in Phoenix to reach the last four of CONCACAF’s biennial competition.

The Jamaicans got off a dream start in the fourth minute when Shaun Francis got on the end of a perfect cross from Darren Mattocks and side-footed one time into the roof of Milan Borjan’s net.

Canada missed a perfect opportunity to draw level in the 10th minute from a set piece. Scott Arfield’s delivery found Cyle Larin, but the Orlando City striker headed just wide of the post.

Mattocks was then in on goal on a counter-attack with a chance to double Jamaica’s lead in the 17th minute, but Borjan did well to go low and deny his right-footed shot.

Romario Williams nets second goal

Jamaica started the second half just as they started the first: with an early goal. Romario Williams took a slick pass from Mattocks, spun to his left and fired an unstoppable shot past Borjan to net his second of the tournament.

Junior Hoilett answered for Canada in the 61st minute with a wonder-strike of his own. Samuel Piette set his teammate up and he curled his shot past Andre Blake to cut Jamaica’s lead in half.

Goalkeeper Blake comes up big again

Blake made two saves of the game down the stretch, though, going high and to his left to stop another amazing strike from Hoilett in the 71st minute and then low to his right in extra time to turn Scott Arfield away and preserve his team’s 2-1 lead.

The win saw Jamaica create history as the first Caribbean team to reach the semifinals on two consecutive occasions. The Reggae Boyz will face CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico, who got by Honduras 1-0, on Sunday. The other semifinal will see hosts United States taking on Costa Rica.

 

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