Sport

Italy push Girlz closer to exit door

SHERDON COWAN
AT THE 2019 FIFA
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP FINALS
In France

Saturday, June 15, 2019

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REIMS, France — It was a much-improved performance but Jamaica's Reggae Girlz were again on the wrong end of a 0-5 scoreline against Italy in their second Group C contest at the Fifa Women's World Cup at Stade Auguste-Delaune yesterday.

Like it was in their opening contest where Cristiane netted all three goals for Brazil, Italy also found a hat-trick hero in Cristiana Girelli, who scored the first three goals in the 12th, 25th and 46th minutes. Substitute Aurora Galli then added salt on the wounded Reggae Girlz with a brace in the 71st and 81st minutes.

Though the scoreline seems crushing, the execution by the debutant Jamaicans were slightly better in the defensive and attacking execution as they unlocked Italy's tight defence several times — but poor decision-making denied them their first-ever goal on this stage.

With the loss the Girlz remain rooted at the foot of the standing without a point and a diminished chance of progressing to the next round, while the Italians assumed pole position on six points to make their path to the round of 16 safe after a 20-year absence. Brazil and Australia are on three points each.

A large Jamaican fan base again made up the 12,016 spectators in attendance, including students from various schools around Reims, in what was another pulsating atmosphere.

It was a much more confident start from the Jamaicans, who made their intentions clear as they made some good early runs which gradually stretched the Italian defensive line.

However, their spirits were quickly dampened when Barbara Bonansea dispossessed Sashana Campbell before being brought down inside the area by Allyson Swaby on the break. The penalty was awarded following a VAR review.

The resulting penalty was saved by Sydney Schneider in goal for Jamaica, but a retake was ordered after a check by VAR revealed that the custodian was too early off her line.

Girelli made no mistake from the 12-yard spot on the second attempt.

Still, the Jamaicans continued to fight and orchestrated some good build-ups down the channels but struggled to make the most of possession in the final third.

The Italians doubled the lead when Girelli met a right-sided corner kick from Manuela Giugliano that bounced past the entire defensive line in the centre of the six-yard box.

They could have added a third three minutes later from another corner as the Jamaicans again failed to properly defend the set play though, fortunately for them, Daniela Sabatino's effort in the melee came back off the crossbar.

But Girelli would find her third to send her team further ahead when she outjumped Schneider to head home a mere minute on the resumption.

Jamaica again settled into their game and enjoyed a good passage of play which provided a few openings for them, but poor decisions in the final third denied them the elusive first goal.

In the 52nd, Mireya Grey had time and space at the far post from Khadija Shaw's left-sided cross, but her tame effort failed to trouble Laura Giuliani in goal for Italy.

Seven minutes later, Shaw applied pressure and dispossessed Giuliani from a back pass and laid off a pass to Havana Solaun with an empty net awaiting. But instead of taking the shot, Solaun attempted a pass back to Shaw which allowed the defence to clear their lines.

Left full back Deneisha Blackwood found herself forward and released a well-struck left-footed effort at goal in the 63rd minute, but Giuliani was well-positioned to tip unto the crossbar.

Jamaica's profligacy allowed the Italians to regain control of the game and in the 65th minute substitute Galli added the fourth, after she was allowed too much space to release a stinging shot from outside the 18-yard box which proved too hot for Schneider's flailing right hand.

Galli then arrived on the end of a long pass from Giugliano, and calmly rounded the advancing Schneider before rolling the ball into the net to cap off the scoreline.

The Jamaicans fought to the very end and Solaun launched a powerful right-footed effort on target, but Giuliani proved equal to the task in time added.

Jamaica wrap up their campaign against Australia on Tuesday, while Italy play Brazil in their final group game.

Teams: Jamaica — Sydney Schneider, Konya Plummer, Allyson Swaby, Deneisha Blackwood, Sashana Campbell, Havana Solaun, Chantelle Swaby (Marlo Sweatman 46th), Olufolasade Adamolekun (Lauren Silver 76th), Chinyelu Asher, Mireya Grey (Jody Brown 65th), Khadija Shaw

Subs not used: Nicole McClure, Yazmeen Jameison, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Chanel Hudson-Marks, Ashleigh Shim, Tiffany Cameron, Trudi Carter, Toriana Patterson, Cheyna Matthews

Booked: Schneider (10th), Shaw (59th)

Italy — Laura Giuliani, Valentina Bergamaschi (Aurora Galli 65th), Sara Gama, Elena Linari, Alia Guagni (Lisa Boattin 57th), Daniela Sabatino, Cristiana Girelli (Valentina Giacinti 72nd), Barbara Bonansea, Elisa Bartoli, Valentina Gernoia, Manuela Giugliano

Subs not used: Rosalia Pipitone, Chiara Marchitelli, Martina Rosucci, Alice Parisi, Stefania Tarenzi, Annamaria Serturini, Laura Fusetti, IIaria Mauro, Linda Tucceri

Booked: None

Referee: Anna-Marie Keighley (NZL)

Assistant referees: Sarah Jones (NZL); Maria Salamasina (SAM)

Fourth official: Claudia Umpierrez (URU)

Match commissary: Sue Destombes (RSA)


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