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Reggae Boyz steal crucial point in Canada

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:24 am    Post subject: Reggae Boyz steal crucial point in Canada Reply with quote

Ian Burnett, in Toronto Canada
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Toronto, Canada - Jamaica's Demar Phillips (right) tackles Canada's
Paul Stalteri during the first half of their FIFA World Cup qualifying
football match last night. The game ended 1-1. (Photo: AP)

Toronto, Canada - Jamaica's senior footballers made a positive start to their CONCACAF 2010 World Cup semi-final round qualifying series with a come-from-behind 1-1 draw here at the BMO Field last night.

Played before 21,978 spectators, including thousands of yellow-clad, flag-waving Jamaicans still basking in the euphoria of the majestic performances of Usain Bolt and company at the Beijing Olympics, the Reggae Boyz gave a solid display as they bid for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.

Julian de Guzman, whose mother, Pauline Blair-de Guzman, was born in St Catherine, put his team ahead in the 47th minute, but Andy Williams, who was born in Canada, replied five minutes later with a curling right-side corner to silence the home crowd.

The game was the first in this phase of the qualifying series, which consists of three groups of four teams playing on a home and away basis. The top two teams from each group advance to the final phase, in which the top three teams on points advance to South Africa and the fourth-placed team enters a home-and-a way fixture with the fifth-placed team from South America.

After a start in which both teams appeared tentative, Canada got the first shot on goal in the eighth minute from Patrice Bernier, but his left-footed effort from just outside the penalty area was easily saved by Donovan Ricketts in goal.

Moments later, the home side was on the attack again with Dwayne De Rosario serving Tomasz Radzinski with a neat lay-off, but the Skoda Xanthi player booted his shot well high over the horizontal.

The Boyz did not get a close look at the 40-year-old Pat Onstad in the Canadian goal until near the midway point of the first half when Evan Taylor looped a left-footer towards goal, which posed no problems as it sailed high and wide. But that effort seemed to have injected new life into the Reggae Boyz, who proceeded to play with more confidence, especially in attack, and getting better looks at Onstad's frame.

On the half-hour mark Rudolph Austin had a glorious chance to unleash his trademark pile-driver, but the classy midfielder opted for a 'curler', which was easily saved by Onstad.

It was fair warning that the Boyz were warming to the occasion and moments later Deon Burton just failed to make contact with Williams' right-sided cross, after good interplay from the back of the team, through the midfield and on the wing.

It was a decent first half, but the Boyz knew that they had to maintain the discipline they displayed in the first half if they were to come away with a favourable result.

Things appeared bleak immediately on the resumption when the hosts gained the lead through the wily de Guzman, a midfielder who plays for Deportivo La Coruna in Spain's La Liga.

The ball was played down the right flank to Dwayne De Rosario, who appeared to be in an offside position, and the Houston Dymano player centred for Radzinski, who headed a well-weighted pass into the path of the onrushing de Guzman to bury under flailing bodies and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

Like Bolt and company in China, the Boyz stepped up a gear, took the fight to the Canadians and they were duly rewarded shortly after when Williams repaid de Guzman for his earlier act by curling in a beautiful right-sided corner, which embarrassed Onstad at his near post. With renewed momentum, Williams drove a soaring free-kick goalwards, but the giant goalkeeper redeemed himself by palming the shot over the top, as the teams threw caution out the door.

Technical Director Rene Simoes appeared to have switched formation by introducing the speedy Luton Shelton into the attack for the fading Williams, just after the hour mark, but the former Harbour View striker was unable to steal a goal, though he burnt the Canadian defence line on a few occasions.

Canada, through de Guzman, De Rosario and substitute Iain Hume, piled on the pressure in the last quarter, but stout rearguard action by Ricketts and his defenders thwarted everything thrown at them.

In fact, at the death, de Guzman was inches away from being the hero when his rasping right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area scraped paint off Ricketts's frame after a moment of indecision from the Jamaican defenders.

Despite four minutes of time added, Simoes and his Boyz held their nerves rather well to steal a share of the points away from home.


Jamaica - Donovan Ricketts, Obrian Woodbine, Jermaine Taylor, Ian Goodison, Ricardo Gardner, Evan Taylor, Rudolph Austin, Demar Phillips (Jermaine Hue 90th+), Wolry Wolfe (Omar Cummings 87th), Andy Williams (Luton Shelton 64th), Deon Burton.

Booked: Williams (45th+)
Subs not used: Shawn Sawyers, Demar Stewart, Keneil Moodie, Davion Thorpe

Canada - Pat Onstad, Mike Klukowski, Richard Hastings, Adrian Serioux, Paul Stalteri, Atiba Hutchinson, Patrice Bernier (Iain Hume 65th), Julian de Guzman, Dwayne De Rosario, Tomasz Radzinski, Rod Friend (Ali Gerba 78th).

Booked: De Rosario (25th), Serioux (54th), Hutchinson (68th)
Subs not used: Greg Sutton, Daniel Imhof, Kevn McKKenna, Jim Brennan

Referee: Carlos Batres Gonzalez (Guatemala)
Assistant referees: Areil Mendez Escobar, Edwin Gonzalez Florian (Guatemala)
Fourth Official: Walter Lopez Castellanos (Guatemala)[img][/img]
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