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Simoes happy with point on the road

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:35 am    Post subject: Simoes happy with point on the road Reply with quote

Ian Burnett, Sport Editor
Friday, August 22, 2008

Technical director Rene Simoes was left licking his lips after Jamaica's senior footballers claimed an important point in a 1-1 result away to Canada at the BMO Field in Toronto on Wednesday night in the opening game of the semifinal round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying series.

As Simoes basked in the success of his gamble with a team highlighting a handful of rookies, his counterpart, Dale Mitchell, rued his side's inability to garner all three points, especially after relying on their best possible squad in many moons.

"The result was good," beamed the little Brazilian coach at game's end. "I analysed Canada and they don't press you at home, so we held the ball at the back and if they don't come at us we'll keep it for the entire 90 minutes and the game end 0-0, no problem," he added.

"That was the strategy; hold them, make them frustrated, don't make any space for No 6 (Julian de Guzman) and No 14 (Dwayne De Rosario), and in the end of the game put in three strikers. We wanted to win the game," insisted Simoes, who could not introduce three strikers when he wanted to, due to the uncertainty of midfield general Rudolph Austin, who was suffering from leg cramps.

Substitute strikers Luton Shelton and Omar Cummings were introduced in the 64th and 87th minutes respectively, but that was not enough time for Simoes' three-pronged attack to set aim at the Canadian defence.

The Boyz employed a disciplined approach and held the home side even at the break, after the teams traded blows but immediately upon the resumption, the Canadians went ahead rather fortuitously, thanks to de Guzman, who parades his skills for Spain's La Liga outfit Deportivo La Coruna.

The silky smooth midfielder, whose mother, Pauline Blair-de Guzman was born in St Catherine, Jamaica, rocketed home a left-footer after being neatly served with a header from withdrawn striker Tomasz Radzinski.
However, on a different night that goal might not have been allowed as there was more than a hint that De Rosario was in an offside position when he collected the ball on the right flank before whipping in the centre pass.

The Boyz were undaunted and they stepped up a notch, much like the nation's brilliant Olympians in China, and within five minutes justice was served.

From a left-sided corner, Canadian-born midfielder Andy Williams embarrassed the giant-sized Pat Onstad in goal with his curling kick, which beat the goalkeeper at his near post.

The Boyz traded attacks and at times rode luck to eventually earn the point and take two away from Canada. "We had some luck, but you need luck because if you don't have any, when you cross the street a car will come and hit you." Simoes said.

Mitchell, though disappointed with the result, praised Jamaica's goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and the team's organised structure and its ability to play to a plan, but he still believes that his team has the tools to advance to the final round.

"Teams go on the road to get a result and that's what Jamaica did. They played to a plan," he said. "We tried to play but there was nowhere to go through." "The goal against us was unfortunate, there were chances for us to win the game, but it didn't happen."

Added the coach who has been in charge of the senior team since last year: "I think if we play five more games like that we'll have a good chance of qualifying. We have a point from the game; we'll take that and move on."

Meanwhile, de Guzman and De Rosario, who had promised "no emotions" when they entered the pitch against Jamaica, having Jamaican roots, told reporters they were disappointed with the result, but hopeful for the future.

Jamaica will next turn their attention to CONCACAF giants Mexico on September 6, while Canada will host Honduras in Montreal on the same day. In Mexico City on Wednesday night, the home side came from a goal down to win 2-1.
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