Jamaica’s reggae Boyz advanced to the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup after a late strike from substitute Junior Flemmings rescued all three points in a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Guadeloupe at the Explosira Stadium in Florida on Friday.
The Group C curtain-raiser had barely got underway when the French-speaking country took the lead under fortunate circumstances.
On a quick counter-attack the ball fell to Dimitri Ramothe on the right side of the penalty area and his attempted cross to the centre took a wicked deflection off defender Amari’i Bell and wrong-footed goalkeeper Andre Blake, who had started repositioning himself to the centre.
But Jamaica was on level terms within 10 minutes when the impressive Blair Turgott robbed possession from a defender and teed up Cory Burke, and the Philadelphia Union frontman planted a firm right-footed shot well out of the reach of a stranded Yohann Thuran-Ulien in goal.
Leon Bailey then thought he had given Jamaica the lead shortly after when he lobbed Thuram-Ulien but VAR ruled him marginally offside.
It was left to Flemmings, the former Jamaica College Manning Cup standout to seal the deal in magnificent fashion, three minutes from the end.
Bailey relayed a firm pass and Flemmings turned two defenders then shimmied past another before driving a firm left-footer between the legs of Thuram-Ulien to send the Reggae Boyz through to a much-deserved victory.
Jamaica moved to six points from two games, having blanked Suriname 2-0 in the first game on Monday.
Also moving to six points was Costa Rica, who came from behind to edge Suriname 2-1 in the feature game.
Gleofilo Vlijter got Suriname off to the perfect start early in the second half but the Central Americans replied within six minutes when Joel Campbell headed home the equaliser, before captain Celso Borges put his team ahead two minutes later.
Costa Rica lead the group on goal difference, having won the first game against Guadeloupe 3-1.
The group leaders meet at the same venue next Tuesday.