Saturday 17 November, 2018

Reggae Boyz beat Curacao 2-0 for perfect start to Gold Cup

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz celebrating following their opening goal against Curacao on sunday.

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz celebrating following their opening goal against Curacao on sunday.

Jamaica defeated Curacao 2-0 on Sunday at the Qualcomm Stadium for a perfect start to their Group C campaign at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA.

The victory came two week  after the Reggae Boyz suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Curacao in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup final.

Romario Williams in the 58th  minute and substitute Darren Mattocks in  the 73rd minute gave the Reggae Boyz the first three points in the group, which also includes Mexico and El Salvador.

In the other Group C match, Mexico launched their title defense with an impressive 3-1 win over El Salvador.

In an entertaining first half, Mexico raced out to a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute, when Guadalajara defender Hedgardo Marin latched onto an Elias Hernandez free kick at the back post, leapt over defender Bryan Tamacas and headed in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Just two minutes later, El Salvador equalized.  Rodolfo Zelaya slipped a superb ball into the right side of the area for a sprinting Nelson Bonilla, who slotted a low, right-footed past charging goalkeeper Jesus Corona from 12-yards out.  It was the fastest in the Salvadorans’ Gold Cup history.

A sensational volley by Hernandez – the man of the match -- put the Tricolor in front, 2-1, in the 29th minute.  From the right, Jesus Gallardo played a cross into the box, where a perfectly timed right-footed effort by the Leon midfielder from 10-yards found the back of the net.

Mexico put the game out of reach ten minutes into the second half.  Benji Villalobos, the El Salvador goalkeeper, was unable to handle a Hernandez cross, allowing Orbelin Pineda to easily tap in with his knee and extend his team’s advantage.

The teams will return to action on Thursday at the Sports Authority Field in Denver.

Curacao will face El Salvador in the opening game at 7:00 pm and then at 9:30 pm Jamaica and Mexico will face off.