Panama defeats Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz

Panama plays Jamaica in Panama City.
Alexis Quiroz/AESPORTSIMAGES/

Panama stayed undefeated in the Final Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualification for Qatar 2022 with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz on Sunday at Independence Park in Kingston, the Jamaican capital.

CONCACAF said Panama now has four points after Sunday’s win and last Thursday’s opening 0-0 home draw versus Costa Rica, while Jamaica is still searching for its first point of qualification following Sunday’s result and Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Mexico.

Panama opened the scoring in the 14th minute through an unlikely scorer, CONCACAF said.

“Center back Andres Andrade stepped into the center circle and picked off a pass,” it said. “But, rather than find an attacker, he opted to dribble forward and fire off a shot before he got into the penalty area.

“The attempt surprised Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake, and Panama was off the mark, 1-0,” CONCACAF said.

Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake (1) clears the ball from his goal during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C soccer match against Suriname, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Associated Press/John Raoux/File

It said Panama looked for a second in the 35th minute, with Jose Luis Rodriguez getting the ball in the box and looking to curl a shot past Blake, but CONCACAF said the Jamaican shot-stopper had the shot in his sights and made the stop.

Two minutes later, it said Rodriguez turned provider, putting in a cross of his own for Rolando Blackburn, whose header also ended up in Blake’s hands.

But Blackburn used that as experience to double the lead in the 39th minute, beating Liam Moore to an Eric Davis cross and sending his header past Blake to give the Central Americans the 2-0 lead heading into the halftime break, CONCACAF said.

It said Jamaica manager, Theodore Whitmore made a pair of changes at halftime, bringing Junior Flemmings and Devon Williams into the contest and also made another pair of subs in the 73rd minute, including inserting Shamar Nicholson, who scored in the 2-1 loss to Mexico, for Michail Antonio, who made his Jamaica debut on Sunday.

“Jamaica had perhaps its best chance of the game in the 77th minute, with a shot from Nicholson forcing Panama GK (goal keeper) Luis Mejia into action,” CONCACAF said.

“But moments later, it was Panama on the counter-attack, and midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla played in Cecilio Waterman, who sent his finish past Blake to tie a bow on the victory for Panama,” it added.

CONCACAF said Jamaica closes out the window with a trip to Costa Rica, while Panama will put its undefeated record on the line against Mexico in Panama City.

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