Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mexico 0 Jamaica 1: Late Lawrence stunner sinks defending champions

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Jul 2017


Jamaica gained some revenge for their loss to Mexico in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup final by claiming a stunning 1-0 win over the defending champions.

The Jamaicans advanced all the way to the final two years ago but were outclassed 3-1 by Mexico in the decider.

However, Jamaica went some way to avenging that defeat thanks to Kemar Lawrence’s outstanding 88th-minute free-kick on Sunday.

After Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake produced a masterclass to thwart Mexico throughout in Pasadena, California, Lawrence stepped up and curled a set-piece past Jose Corona.

Jamaica will now meet hosts and five-time champions the United States in the tournament final in Santa Clara on Wednesday.

Mexico – with suspended head coach Juan Carlos Osorio watching in the stands – have rotated throughout the tournament but they only made two changes to the team that beat Honduras 1-0 in the quarter-finals. Erick Torres and Erick Gutierrez came into the starting XI as Angel Sepulveda and Jesus Gallardo dropped out.

There was just one change for Jamaica, who overcame Canada 2-1 in the last eight. Ladale Richie replaced Kevon Lambert.

Mexico and Jamaica played out a dour goalless draw in the group stage but this was a far more eventful clash as Blake produced a stellar first half to keep the scores level.

After a cagey opening, Blake pulled off a stunning double save to deny Jesus Duenas and Torres in the 12th minute.

A low shot from Duenas, which took a wicked deflection, forced Blake into a fine block with his legs before stepping up to thwart Torres.

As Jamaica struggled to create anything in attack, Blake was kept busy as the Philadelphia Union goalkeeper somehow stopped a Torres header from point-blank range.

Mexico continued to dominate but Jamaica almost snatched the lead seven minutes before half-time. Jermaine Taylor’s audacious long-range free-kick almost found the back of the net but Corona fisted the ball away for a corner.

Jamaica were much more threatening in the second half as Darren Mattocks almost weaved past three defenders en route to goal.

The counter-attacking system that proved so effective against Canada almost put Jamaica ahead but Ricardo Morris’ effort was too tame and straight at Corona approaching the hour-mark.

Blake made another save in the 65th minute, albeit routine to push away Gallardo’s free-kick.

Jamaica had another opportunity to take the lead but Corona scrambled to palm away Damion Lowe’s goal-bound header with 13 minutes remaining.

But Jamaica were not to be denied at the death as Lawrence fired his team into a second successive Gold Cup final.


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