'Tappa' thinks changes for second warm-up game against Cuba

'Tappa' thinks changes for second warm-up game against Cuba

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Monday, January 05, 2015

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Jamaica's national Under-20 football coach Theodore Whitmore says he may shuffle the starting team for the second warm-up game against Cuba, scheduled for the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex at 5:00 pm today.

The teams, preparing for the January 9 start of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica, met on Saturday at the Drewsland Mini-Stadium with the hosts edging to a 2-1 victory.

Michael Seaton and substitute Donjay Smith scored second-half goals for Jamaica, while Issam Lartiga hit the consolation in stoppage time for the Spanish-speaking island.

It was a tentative performance from both teams, particularly in the opening half.

Whitmore noted that his team upped the tempo in the second period after early jitters, while adding that changes to the starting line-up are likely for this afternoon's encounter.

"We may field another starting eleven for the second game," he told reporters

"You could see where most of the guys showed they were not accustomed to international football. You could see why we needed these games. After a while we got it together and our play improved."

William Bennett, the head coach of Cuba, while speaking through a translator, credited the Jamaicans and added that his team also suffered from match rustiness.

"Jamaica is a good team and it is good we got to play against them. It is good to get this practice because we haven't had many games leading up to end of the [last] year," Bennett said.

Despite the uninspired first half, there were a few chances created at either end, but both teams were indecisive in front of goal.

The Jamaicans, though having senior team forward Michael Seaton, former schoolboy standout Cardel Benbow and Manning Cup winning captain Junior Flemmings in their starting eleven, lacked the cutting edge in the first half.

Cuba's players, despite making some crisp, neat passes at times, were also guilty of wayward shooting.

But the Jamaicans got their bearing right in the 51st minute when Flemmings found room wide on the left side and crossed for the onrushing Seaton, who saw his header burst through the hands of the Cuban goalkeeper.

The hosts got their second when the fleet-footed substitute Martin Davis slid a pass for Smith to drill a grounder into the far corner of the goal in minute 89.

In the first minute of time added, the battling Cubans pulled back a goal when Issam Lartiga rolled home.

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