Reggae Girlz beat Chile 1-0 in friendly international
Jamaica's Khadija Shaw moves ahead of a Chile defender during their friendly international football game at the National Stadium in Kingston on Thursday, February 28, 2019. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid).
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz edged Chile 1-0 on Thursday night at the National Stadium in the first of two friendly international matches.
Marlo Sweatman scored the lone goal in the ninth minute.
It was the first match for the Reggae Girlz since they created history over four months ago in the United States by becoming the first Caribbean team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz achieved the feat on October 17, 2018, by defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties in their third-place playoff match at the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship at the Toyota Stadium in Texas.
On Thursday night, the Girlz used on-and-off ball movements combined with speed to get the better of their South American opponents, especially in the first half where they got a number of other opportunities.
With the crowd barely settled into their seats the Reggae Girlz took the lead when Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler spilled a corner from the left, which set up the goal.
Jamaica's top attacker Khadija Shaw caused concerns to goalkeeper Endler minutes later with a free kick just outside the penalty area on the left, which caused the custodian to dive full stretch to her right to prevent another goal.
Shaw was given a grand opportunity to increase the lead close the end of the half when she was fed a through ball, but with only Endler to beat she fired straight at the goalkeeper from just inside the area.
The Chileans started the second half on the attack and camped inside the Reggae Girlz' half for most of the first 20 minutes, with their best effort being a long-range shot from Yesenita Huenteo that goalkeeper Nicole McClure had to dive to her right to block.
Then a free-kick from the right by Huenteo had to be cleared off the line at the far post by defender Konya Plummer, after beating goalkeeper McClure.
Reggae Girlz, Chile showdown
The Reggae Girlz gradually settled and once again started to take the fight to Chile with a number of quick counter attacks that looked positive at the beginning but fizzled out in the final third or was fired over the crossbar from distance.
Chile was presented with a good opportunity to equalise close to the end when Plummer failed to properly clear from the area and the ball fell to an unmarked Yanara Aedo on the left. She fired powerfully at goalkeeper McClure, but the custodian blocked the near-post effort.
The second match will take place at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Sunday.