Sport

U-20s draw closer

Victory today would propel U-20s to CONCACAF round

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 08, 2012    

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AFTER scrambling to an unimpressive win over Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica's Under-20s turn their attention to Suriname today at 7:00 pm, knowing that a win would seal qualification to the CONCACAF final round set for Mexico next February.

On Tuesday, the young Reggae Boyz edged Antigua and Barbuda 1-0 in their Group B Caribbean Football Union (CFU) opener at the Stadium East field, and a win today would propel them to six points in the four-team group of which the top two advance.

Furthermore, with the top two also advancing from Group A, plus the best thirdplaced team overall, six points would be more than enough for Jamaica.

Currently, the slick-looking Cubans that defeated Suriname 2-1 are on top of the group by goal difference, and are scheduled to tackle a useful Antiguan outfit at 5:00 pm in the curtain-raiser at Stadium East.

Tall St George's College striker Oshane Boothe spared Jamaica's blushes nodding home in the 42nd minute in an uninspiring display by the home team.

Brazilian head coach Luciano Gama was clearly disappointed by his team's performance, especially in the first half, but was satisfied that they secured the win and three crucial points.

“Today we came out with three points. It is a difficult tournament and there are no easy opponents any more. You have to play your best to come out with the victory,” said Gama.

“We won the game today which was important. The team responded better in the second half... we respect everybody but maybe we had too much respect in the first half. We are past that and will be focusing on Suriname,” he pointed out.

In the first game, Gama started with only four players from the successful Under-17 outfit that reached the FIFA World Cup last year in Alvas Powell, Omar Holness, Romario Jones, and Andre Lewis, and that should not change much for the second encounter.

St Jago's Rashaun Patterson was given the nod in goal ahead of Cavalier’s Nico Campbell. The outstanding Powell was joined in the backline by former St Georges’ defender Kareem Manning, now at Portmore United; Boys' Town and Camperdown left back Hugh Evans and overseas-based Sean McFarlene at right back.

The midfield had a familiar look to it with for Wolmer's player Holness, the St George's duo of Lewis and Jones and the skilful Paul Wilson, formerly of Glenmuir High and Portmore United.

Upfront were Javanie Mitchell of Waterhouse and Oshane Boothe, who sometimes comes off the St George's College bench.

Of the four teams on display in Group B, Suriname seem to be the weakest, hence the Jamaicans are highly fancied to secure three points and book their spot in the final qualifying round.

Meanwhile, the talented looking Cubans defeated Suriname 2-1, courtesy of a double strike from Arichel Hernandez in the 25th and 45th minutes, while Miquel Darson pulled one back for Suriname in the 46th minute.

The match-up between Cuba and Antigua should be a close affair and can go either way although the Cubans are fancied to win.

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