Reggae Girlz book spot in the final round of CCWQ
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz. (PHOTO: Concacaf.com)
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz are scheduled to return on Monday night from their successful campaign of the Concacaf Caribbean Women's Qualifiers (CCWQ) in Haiti.
The Reggae Girlz repelled the challenge of rivals Haiti in a gutsy display to book their spot in the final round of the CCWQ after they battled to a 2-2 tie at the Stade Sylvio Cator on Sunday.
Both Haiti and Jamaica finished on identical seven points, but the Reggae Girlz edged out their neighbours on a plus-three goal difference.
Over the three games, Jamaica found the net 18 times with two goals against, while Haiti bagged 15 goals and conceded two.
In the consolation game of the day, the all-French contest saw Martinique getting the better of their Eastern Caribbean neighbour Guadeloupe 3-0 for their first points of the tournament.
Prisca Carin opened Martinique's account in the 5th minute, and that strike was followed by Johanne Guillou (53rd minute) and Nathaela Paulin (58th).
Jamaica 2, Haiti 2
Haiti's Melchie Dumonay found the target to send her team ahead in the 24th minute, setting the stage for a ding-dong battle.
In the keenly contested top-of-the-table fixture, Haiti put their nose further in front in minute 43, but Jamaica's Trudi Carter pulled on back in the 44th minute.
The Reggae Girlz got their equalizing goal through inspirational Khadijah Shaw in the 66th minute, bagging her eighth goal of the tournament.
Boosted by their home advantage, the Haitians came out more positive in the contest and forced the Reggae Girlz on the back foot.
The Haitians got their opening goal when Dumonay broke away down the left side before beating Jamaica goalkeeper Chris-Ann Chambers.
Jamaica could have equalized in the 41st minute, but Deneisha Blackwood unbelievably skied her close-range left-footed shot.
But the Jamaicans found themselves further behind when the French-speaking Haitians rattled their guests when Jeudy fired in an unattended goal after Jamaica goalkeeper Chambers failed to take charge in her goal area.
A minute later, Carter restored Jamaican hopes when she made easy work of a close-up opportunity as the teams retreated to the dressing room with the scores at 2-1 in favor of Haiti.
On the resumption, Haiti searched for the cushion goal, while the Reggae Girlz dug deep for the goal that would restore parity and put them on course for the priceless Group B qualifying spot.
And the Jamaicans found their life-saving goal when the towering Shaw was brought down in the penalty box by Kethna Louis.
Shaw - calm, cool and collected - beat Haitian goalkeeper Kerly Theus from the 12-yard spot to send her team forward to the next stage of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Only the winners of the five CCWQ groups will progress to the final round of the Caribbean qualifiers to be held August 25-September 2.
The top three teams from the final round will qualify for the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship October 4-17 in the USA. Group A of the confederation qualifiers is set to be played in Cary, North Carolina, while Group B will be contested in Edinburg, Texas.
The final stage will then take place in Frisco, Texas, with the top three teams qualifying as the CONCACAF representatives to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.
The fourth-place finisher will engage in an intercontinental play-off for the possibility of qualifying another Concacaf team.
GROUP B RESULTS
Haiti, Stade Sylvio Cator
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
16:00 Jamaica vs Guadeloupe (13-0)
18:30 Haiti vs Martinique (2-0)
Friday, May 11, 2018
16:00 Martinique vs Jamaica (0-3)
18:30 Guadeloupe vs Haiti (0-11)
Sunday, May 13, 2018
16:00 Guadeloupe vs Martinique (0-3)
18:30 Jamaica vs Haiti (2-2)