Young Reggae Girlz through to CWC quarters
Unleash second-half blitz to rout physical Cuba
JAMAICA’S REGGAE Girlz are through to the quarter-finals of the Concacaf Under-17 Women’s Championship (CWC) after a 4-0 win over a physical Cuba inside the Félix Sánchez Olympic Stadium yesterday.
Jamaica benefited from a Natoya Atkinson brace in the second and 59th minutes of play, while Shaneil Buckley, in the 53rd, and Dannique Wilson, in the 73rd, made the advance sure.
The first half was a muddy, dour affair, with bruising tackles and switching possession the theme of the evening, save for Atkinson’s header from the game’s first corner.
Jamaica head coach, Dane Chambers, had said in an interview with The Gleaner that he wanted his team to be clinical in front of goal and, after Atkinson’s opening salvo, he appeared to be getting his wish.
However, Chambers also said he was expecting Cuba to be physical and that, too, rang true in the first half, with just four shots on goal between the teams. In place of goalmouth action, there were fierce tackles and frustrated teenagers.
The second half started in much the same way the first ended, that was until Buckley began abusing her marker down Jamaica’s left flank.
Sthefane Martinez had no answer to the quick, skilful advances of Buckley.
On one of the many occasions Buckley made light work of getting by Martinez, the winger darted into the box, skipped a tackle from the centre half that would have certainly counted as a penalty, before composing herself to shoot past a hapless Chaila Hernández in the Cuban goal.
The goal, having made the lead safe for the Jamaicans, also brought with it more confidence.
That confidence was highlighted when Buckley pounced onto a lobbed free kick, ran clear down the left side, passed inside to Maya Raghunandan, who then went further inside to Atkinson. Atkinson’s one-time side-foot was perfectly placed, leaving the Cubans with a mountain to climb.
That mountain might as well have been Everest after that when Wilson slotted home the fourth.
In other games from yesterday’s round of 16, El Salvador dumped St Kitts and Nevis 10-0, while Canada beat Honduras 4-1.
On Saturday, Costa Rica clipped Nicaragua 1-0, and Puerto Rico beat Panama 2-0.
The Jamaicans will now go on to play against the United States on Wednesday.