Theodore Whitmore’s tenancy as Jamaica head coach still lies in a risky position, but thanks to Shamar Nicholson’s chance-headed goal the Reggae Boyz picked up their first FIFA World Cup qualifying point with an admirable 1-1 draw Costa Rica Football World Cup team in September.
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Midfielder Jimmy Marín caressed the hosts into a third-minute lead, with Nicholson leveling matters on 47 minutes. The unexpected equalizer was enough to halt Jamaica’s dreary record of seven successive World Cup qualifying defeats at Costa Rica’s Estadio Nacional in San Jose, a record that dated back to 1965.
With both sides low on confidence, Costa Rica Football World Cup team having failed to score in their opening pair of qualifiers against Panama (0-0) and Mexico (0-1) respectively, Whitmore offered Nicholson the tough ask of playing as the lone striker in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Pacy forward Cory Burke again was out of position, in a midfield person, for his third World Cup qualifier on the bounce.
Costa Rica Football World Cup team, who had whirled off a trio of victories against the Boyz without conceding a goal in their previous meets, made a magical start in cool and rainy conditions. Veteran and captain Bryan Ruiz brilliantly picked out Jonathan Moya on the back post, who unselfishly headed the ball into the path of Marín to nod past Andre Blake from close range.
Jamaica took their time to conjure a fight-back as they were pinned in their half. Flemmings’ tentative shot on 17 minutes was easily fingered by experienced Costa Rica Football World Cup team shot-stopper Keylor Navas, who was grateful moments later that Magee’s toe-poked effort was bounced wide of the target. To know more about World Cup Tickets click here.
A goal looked on the cards in the panicky final two minutes before the half-time interval. Marín cleverly wrong-footed defender Alvas Powell, only to twist the ball over the crossbar. Then Burke luminously beat four defenders but scuffed his chance, as he lost his balance when preparing to shoot and sent the ball over the relieved Costa Rica Football World Cup goalkeeper Navas.
Jamaica’s jitters missing after their fortunate equalizer. Magee initiated the move by gathering out Kemar Lawrence on the left wing, who swiftly traversed for Nicholson. The striker mistimed his jump yet the ball amusingly came off his shoulder to swindle Costa Rica Football World Cup player Navas.
Nicholson, who scored a second-half stunner against Mexico, celebrated his second World Cup qualification goal with a wide grin on his face as he appeared to escalate his fluky strike.
The closing stages developed easily the most exciting moments of the dull second half with each side coming perilously close to grabbing the victory. Nicholson volleyed wide of the target then East miscued what looked to be a simple tap-in, with Costa Rica Football World Cup star Navas using his legs to sweep the loose ball. Then Blake was equal to Jonathan Moya’s header in added time.
Whitmore will be a relieved man to have finally kick-started their World Cup campaign with a deserved draw against slick-passing Costa Rica Football World Cup team, having slipped up 1-0 to the Central American side in July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
With Whitmore’s Boyz set to tackle next month’s tricky matches against in-form Canada, Honduras, and the United States in a bid to reach Qatar World Cup 2022, the reality is that prospects should not be too high on the coach manner in mind Jamaica’s recent World Cup qualifying record.
The eight teams intricate in the round-robin World Cup qualifiers are striving for three direct places to Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022, although the nation that finishes fourth will be complex in an intercontinental play-off. The Boyz prop up the table with a single point and are chasing leaders Mexico (7 points) as well as Canada, the USA, and Panama (5 points each).
Jamaica has not won a match in the final stage of the provincial World Cup qualifying campaign since they saw off Haiti 1-0 in their opening game of the 2018 campaign.
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