Boyz lament poor ref, physical Bonaire despite 6-0 triumph

Deputy Sport Editor

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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WILLEMSTAD, Curacao — Jamaica's Reggae Boyz came out swinging at the end of their Concacaf Nations League qualifying match against Bonaire at Ergilio Hato Stadium in Curacao on Sunday evening.

They believe that the referee, Guyana's Sherwin Moore, did little to rein in upstarts Bonaire, who seemed determined, as a ploy, to throw the Boyz out of their rhythm with muscle and brawn.

In a way their strategy worked, as the Jamaicans were not able to settle into a pattern of sound tactical football, but resembled more the scene of a maddening pack of predators in a feeding frenzy.

Lacking the finesse on the offensive front for the most part, the Boyz were still able to put six goals past the football novices, and in the process, maintain their clean sheet. They had defeated the Cayman Islands 4-0 in Kingston last month.

On Sunday Ricardo Morris led the scoring with a brace in the 43rd and 51st minutes, with supporting strikes from Cory Burke (14th), Owayne Gordon (48th), Peter-Lee Vassell (58th) and Dane Kelly (82nd).

Michael Hector, the Jamaican central defender, appeared more peeved by the performance of the referee and the overall ugly nature of the game. And he did not hold back.

“I thought we started out sloppily, but we played a bit better towards the end of the first half, but we definitely started the second half better... but for me, it was one of the craziest games I have ever played in my whole career because of the referee and his officiating.

“Throughout the game there were horrible tackles, and for the referee to allow it to happen it's unbelievable, and someone could have been seriously hurt. Also, there were so many fouls inside the box, and nothing. I hope Concacaf will watch the tapes of the game and address the matter, because there is no place for that kind of thing in football,” said the Chelsea FC player who is currently on loan to Championship side Sheffield, Wednesday.

Hector, clearly frustrated with the way the game was playing out, ended up being sent off in time added after a second yellow card for dissent.

He even found the back of the net in the first half, thinking he had got his first international, but after originally awarding the goal the referee changed his mind after consulting with far side assistant, Nicaragua's Keytzel Corrales.

It was just not Hector's day.

Looking for a bright side to the match, he found some comfort in the team's win and the camaraderie among the players.

“The good is that we scored six goals and kept a clean sheet again. It was also good we scored; we created a lot of chances... I also think the team spirit in this camp has been very good, and those are the positives,” noted Hector.

Team captain Andre Blake, too, weighed in on the freak nature of the game between the mismatched opponents.

“You know it can be tricky when you play these teams, as they were physical last night and the ref was no good. I think even though we got three points and scored six goals, we missed numerous clear-cut opportunities which could have given us at least three or four more goals.

“But we have to stay positive as we continue to try and get into the League A of the Concacaf Nations League,” said the Philadelphia Union goalkeeper.

Assistant Coach Jerome Waite said that while the basic expectation was met, the match left a lot to be desired.

“If you looked at the game, it was not one where (proper) football was played... the Bonaire team is not made up of players, but fighters, and their physical approach eventually disrupted our play.

“Still we should have scored more goals, but we must remember that it is difficult to play on an astro turf, although I am not using that as an excuse,” he said.

After yesterday's round of matches in the Nations League qualifiers, Jamaica's 6-0 win over Bonaire saw them shoot up to fourth spot on the standings after starting Sunday's match in 12th place.

Like the three teams ahead of them, Jamaica have six points and a plus-10 goal difference from two games. Leaders Curacao boast a plus-15, Cuba a plus-13, and St Kitts-Nevis have a plus-11.

Jamaica's ambition in the Nations League qualifying phase is to ensure a top six finish, which will catapult them into League A and automatic berth to the expanded Concacaf Gold Cup, 2019.

The Boyz's next match will be against Suriname at Montego Bay Sports Complex on Saturday, November 17.

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