Jamaica 1 - 0 Mexico: Big opening win for Reggae Girlz in CONCACAF Championship
Jamaica's Khadija Shaw celebrates scoring the opening goal against Mexico during their CONCACAF Women's Championship match in Monterrey, Mexico, Monday, July 4, 2022. (Photo: AP)

MONTERREY, Mexico – Jamaica edged Mexico 1-0 in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship and moved a step closer to a World Cup qualification.

Jamaica’s all-time top scorer Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw nodded home the all-important winner in the 8th minute from a well weighted free kick from Deneisha Blackwood.

It was a massive win for Jamaica as it puts them in prime position to stake a claim at the 2023 World Cup in Australia.

With World Cup champion USA favoured to top the four team group, both Jamaica and Mexico knew the magnitude of a victory would put them on the cusp of World Cup qualification as the top two teams advance.

The USA had defeated Haiti 3-0 in the curtain raiser and are expected to top the group. The battle is for second and this win is massive especially with Jamaica set to play Haiti in their final group match.

The USA and Jamaica are on three points with Jamaica second on goal difference. Both Mexico and Haiti are pointless.

Coach Lorne Donaldson started with a 4-3-3 formation with skipper Khadija Shaw, the speedy Jody Brown and Atlanta Primus upfront.

The lively and outstanding Drew Spence, Havana Solaun and Paige Bailey-Gayle started in midfield and shielded the back line very well.

Rebecca Spencer started in goal with Chantelle Swaby, Allyson Swaby, Deneisha Blackwood and Tiernny Wiltshire forming a solid defense line that withstood everything Mexico threw at them.

But truth be told, Jamaica should have been home and dried winning by at least four clear goals but they made their fans sweat.

Solaun missed from the penalty spot in minute 39 after a lengthy VAR check, while the diminutive Brown missed a couple after being sent through with the goalkeeper alone to beat, and Shaw also saw her chipped effort beat the goalkeeper and hit the base of the upright.

Overall it was a big and crucial win for Jamaica which set the tone for a very good championship and possible World Cup qualification.

HOWARD WALKER , Observer writer

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