Special Olympics Jamaica qualifies for semi-finals

Special Olympics Unified Cup

Special Olympics Jamaica qualified for the division two knockout stage of the Special Olympics Unified Football Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Italy on Thursday.

Playing at the CIBC Fire Pitch, Jamaica needed a late goal from substitute Lance Rutherford, who slid in at the 57th minute to give his side the victory.

Jamaica fought from behind after Italy had taken an early lead in just the fourth minute when Natauno Calise converted from the penalty spot.

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They equalized in the 11th minute courtesy of a strike from Damion Gordon, before Rutherford’s strike three minutes from time sent them through to the semifinals.

The result gave Jamaica six points after beating Japan 4-1 on Wednesday, and second place in the group. Nigeria, who beat Jamaica 1-0 on Tuesday’s opening day, topped Group C with nine points after defeating Japan 3-1 yesterday.

Nigeria, as one of four group winners, are through to the division one semi-finals, while Japan and Italy, who both ended with a single point, have been eliminated.

Winning head coach Shane Richards said he was pleased with the way his team responded in a pressure-filled match.