Shaw's strike pushes Reggae Girlz closer to semis

Jamaica.........1 Shaw (46th) Costa Rica.....0

SHERDON COWAN
AT THE CONCACAF U-20
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

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Edinburg, USA — Superb glovework from Sydney Schneider highlighted a gutsy performance from Jamaica's Senior Reggae Girlz who clipped Costa Rica 1-0 in a crucial Group B Concacaf Women's Championship clash here at H.E.B Park yesterday.

The ever lethal Khadija Shaw found the all-important strike in the 46th minute to give the Girlz three important points which kept their hopes alive of progressing to the semi-final round in Frisco, Texas.

With the three points the Girlz remain in third place behind Costa Rica by virtue of on inferior goal difference, but will have an easier task against Cuba in their final group contest here on Thursday.

The feature game between leaders Canada and Cuba was goalless at press time.

Head Coach Hue Menzies was overwhelmed with emotion at the final whistle.

“This has been a long time coming, especially for the people of Jamaica; we started on this journey to qualify and we are half-way there. We still have to remember that we have one more game to go, so we can't lose focus.

“We will celebrate tonight, enjoy this one and then get back to work. Recovery will be important and (Will Hitzelberger, physical trainer) will come in there to get everybody good to go and then we get right back on track for the next game against Cuba,” Menzies told the Jamaica Observer.

The Jamaicans started the contest shakily and took some time to settle into their brand of football which was to use the width of the field in going forward.

Instead, the Girlz were mainly kept on the defensive end for most of the first half despite finding a few good openings which they failed to capitalise on.

The first came in the seventh minute when Shaw got in on goal and whipped a pass across the face of goal with no one arriving on the end of it.

In the 18th minute Shaw again was involved in a tidy one-two combination with Deneisha Blackwood which resulted in another ball coming across the face of goal, this time Trudi Carter was just late arriving at the far post.

At the other end, the Costa Ricans were very menacing in the attacking third as they dominated possession. However, the Jamaicans maintained a tight defensive posture forcing the Central Americans to hit some speculative shots.

Their closest effort came in the 25th minute when Raquel Rodriguez drove a right-footed effort from an angle but Jamaica's custodian Schneider got down well in time to stop.

With the score being goalless at the break, the Girlz took heart on the resumption and found the go-ahead goal immediately.

Blackwood broke down the left channel and rolled a cross in to Shaw who turned her marker and got off a low shot which was tipped in by custodian Daniela Solera Vega, sending the small Jamaican contingent into a frenzy.

But with the Costa Ricans now desperately hunting the elusive equaliser, the Reggae Girlz were forced to do even more defensive work and panicked a few times in the back. Fortunately for them the ever-consistent Schneider was very alert to avert the danger.

The tall Schneider did well to leave her line to thwart a break away from Melissa Herrera Monge in the 51st minute.

Two minutes later the New Jersey-based goaltender got down well to block a shot from Raquel Rodriguez.

The Central Americans thought they had found the equaliser in the 56th minute but Priscilla Chinchilla was caught offside.

Jamaica also found a few openings from the counter attacks, but Shaw, who was on the end of those attacks, failed to convert.

As the end drew nearer, the Costa Ricans became more desperate while the Girlz showed fortitude in maintaining their defensive posture with Schneider also doing well to keep her composure.

The goaltender, who is likened to her Reggae Boyz counterpart Andre Blake, pulled off her most crucial save in the 80th minute when she again left her line to deny Rodriguez, who was in and well on her way to goal.

From then on it was all about maintaining possession for the Reggae Girlz who did that really well in the closing stages to register a famous win and making amends for their 1-2 loss to the same opponents at the Central American and Caribbean Games.

They will next turn their focus on the 85th-ranked Cuba on Thursday where victory could assure them a spot in the last four and at least a play-off spot for qualification to the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup in France.

Teams: Jamaica — Sydney Schneider, Konya Plummer, Allyson Swaby, Lauren Silver (Sashana Campbell 90th), Dominique Bond-Flasza, Marlo Sweatman, Chinyelu Asher (Toriana Patterson 67th), Christina Chang (Giselle Washington 46th), Khadija Shaw, Deneisha Blackwood, Trudi Carter

Subs not used: Nicole McClure, Jadyn Matthews, Jody Brown, Ashleigh Shim, Chantelle Swaby

Booked: None

Costa Rica — Daniela Solera Vega, Priscila Chinchilla (Fabiola Villalobos 68th), Mariana Benavides, Melissa Herrera Monge, Daniela Cruz, Gloriana Villalobos (Cristin Granados 69th), Shirley Cruz, Raquel Rodriguez, Lixy Rodriguez, Maria Alvarado Aguilar (Maria Salas 89th), Fabiola Sanchez

Subs not used: Yuliana Torres, Gabriela Guillen, Mariela Campos, Carol Sanchez, Maria Barrantes, Wendy Acosta

Booked: None

Referee: Melissa Paola Borjas (HON)

Assistant referees: Shirley Perello Lopez (HON); Felisha Aurora Mariscal (USA)

Fourth official: Ekaterina Koroleva (USA)

Match commissary: Monique Andre (HAI)

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