Reggae Boyz fail to find rhythm against minnows in Martinique
Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore tasted a rare Caribbean Cup defeat as his Jamaica troops were outgunned by Curaçao 2-1 in last night’s final.
Elson Hooi’s brace was enough to hand the Dutch-speaking minnows a deserved triumph, with the Reggae Boyz grabbing some consolation with a goal from lively substitute Rosario Harriott.
Whitmore, the only man to have won the Caribbean Cup as both player and coach, had to watch from the stands at the Stade Pierre Aliker in Martinique having been giving his marching orders during Jamaica’s semi-final success over French Guiana.
The Boyz, who as defending champions vowed to honor a potential seventh crown to the recently deceased Captain Horace Burrell – who had masterminded Jamaica’s rise on the international arena as Jamaica Football Federation President.
But the victory they so yearned was not to be, and Whitmore’s troops seemingly have their work cut out when the sides meet in the Gold Cup next month.
Jamaica missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Corey Burke slipped in the penalty area and within 100 seconds rued the miss as Hooi fired Curaçao ahead.
Dwayne Miller was cleverly beaten from the edge of the area by a neat side-footed shot on 10 minutes after the defence simply crumbled in front of the shotshopper.
The rest of the opening half, in the same vein as Jamaica’s previous tie, saw the Boyz soak up the pressure yet pump the ball half-heartedly forward for Burke, Owayne Gordon and veteran Jermaine Johnson to chase.
After the turnaround the Boyz showed more guile and purpose but without creating any serious goal-scoring chances until Harriott whipped home an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining, cooly converting after latching onto Michael Binns’ telling free-kick.
Yet joy turned to immediate despair as Jamaica lost their concentration and their hold on the Caribbean Cup by conceding within 60 seconds of levelling matters.
Hooi raced onto Cuco Martina’s pass and thundered the ball past stunned Miller into the roof of the net to send the Curaçao side into jubilant celebrations.
Jamaica were deflated by the strike, and failed to muster much of a fightback to relinquish their Caribbean Cup crown with Curaçao claiming the title for the first time.
Whitmore now has to pick up the pieces to rally his troops for next month’s Gold Cup in the USA, but needs to fine tune his forward line as they currently lack the nous and confidence to make the sort of impact that they did to take them famously to the 2015 final.
JAMAICA: Dwayne Miller; Sergio Campbell, Damion Lowe, Oneil Fisher, Shaun Francis (Rosario Harriott, 36 mins); Kevon Lambert, Ewan Grandison, Michael Binns, Jermaine Johnson (Ricardo Morris, 60); Owayne Gordon, Cory Burke (Shamar Nicholson, 70). Subs: Damion Hyatt, Jamie Robinson, Javain Brown, Junior Flemmings, Shawn Genus.
CURAÇAO: Eloy Room; Dustley Mulder, Cuco Martina, Darryl Lachman, Quentin Jakolba; Leandro Bacuna, Jarchino Antonio (Gino Van Kessel, 74 mins), Gevaro Nepomucheno, Gillian Justianna; Elson Hooi (Doriano Kortstam 90th), Rangelo Janga. Subs: Germaine Agustien, Shannon Carmelia, Jerlen Gaari, Ashar Bernadius, Michael Maria, Feliticiano Zschussschen, Aryton Statie, Jarzinho Pieter, Rowendy Sumter.
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