Jamaica 0 – 2 Canada: Reggae Girlz lose first leg of Olympic qualifier
Jamaica's Solai Washington (left) and Kameron Simmonds react at the end of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup round of 16 football match between Jamaica and Colombia at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, also known as AAMI Park, in Melbourne on August 8, 2023. (Photo: AFP)

Jamaica's Reggae Girlz lost 0-2 to Canada in the first of two Olympic qualifiers against the North Americans at the National Stadium in Kingston on Friday.

Nichelle Prince scored in the 18th minute and Adrianna Leon scored in second half stoppage time to give Canada the victory.

From the opening whistle, both teams went on the offensive in search of the game's first goal.

The Jamaicans had the first chance to score, but skipper Khadija Shaw was unable to convert a lovely pass from Deniesha Blackwood inside the box in the fourth minute.

Jody Brown got one too many touches inside the box in the 13th minute and, despite some fancy footwork, squandered an opportunity.

On the other hand, the Canadians took full use of their opportunity when Ashely Lawrence's aerial pass found Prince, who easily beat Jamaican goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer with a glancing header.

The Reggae Girlz sought to recover control with a handful of scoring chances, but the attackers were unable to capitalize and Canada went into the interval with a one-goal advantage.

The North Americans started the second half aggressively in search of additional goals, but goalkeeper Spencer neutralised efforts by Cloe Lacasse and Adrianna Leon.

The Jamaicans had their chances, but the attackers failed to capitalise on the momentum. Among them, in the 67th minute when substitute Tiffany Cameron latched onto a rebound, but her shot flew just inches over the crossbar.

Shaw, substitutes Solai Washington and Kayla McKenna, who played as if their lives depended on it, infused some life into Jamaica's attacking unit with their spirited run of play, however the finishes were subpar.

Leon ended Jamaica's hopes of equalising when she converted in stoppage time to give Canada a 2-0 victory

Jamaica and Canada are vying for a spot at the Olympic Games in Paris next year.

The second game is scheduled for September 26 at the BMO Field in Toronto, Canada.

-Ruddy Allen

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