No Russian Romance for Reggae Boyz as World Cup dream ends in Panama

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Photo: Reggae Boyz fell 2-0 to Panama for second time in World Cup qualification and have missed any chance of making it to Russia.





Jamaica’s slim chances of advancing the CONCACAF final round qualification for the World Cup in Russia were dashed on Friday night when they were beaten 2-0 by Panama at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium in Panama City. Goals either side of the half time break from Gabriel Torres Tejada and Abdiel Arroyo was enough to see the hosts to a comfortable win as they advanced to the ‘Hex’ while the stuttering World Cup bid of the Jamaicans finally came to an end.

The Reggae Boyz started the contest knowing that nothing less than a win could keep the dream of playing in Russia alive, but a less than impressive first half performance saw them fall behind in the 28th minute when Tejada struck.

The lone Giles Barnes effort on target was the only shot that Panama goalkeeper Jamie Penedo Cano had to save for the entire first 45 minutes, as the out of sorts Jamaican team failed to spark to life.

It was more of the same in the second half as the Jamaicans failed to put Panama under significant pressure. The hosts were prepared to play behind the ball and play on the counter attack.

Jobi McAnuff entered the fray in the 62nd minute for Simon Dawkins and added a forward thrust for the Winfried Schafer coached team as they hunted a precious equalizer. McAnuff had a shot on target in the 80th minute but it was saved by Cano.

As the game got stretched, holes started to appear in the Jamaican defence and Panama was almost able to exploit it, but for a magnificent foot save by Andre Blake, from a shot from Blas Perez Ortega.

However, in the second minute of stoppage time, Arroyo would not make the same mistake as his teammate, slotting beyond the advancing Blake on yet another counter attack, to effectively end the contest and ensure a Panamanian victory.

It was the second win for Panama against Jamaica in this round of qualification as they had secured a win by a similar margin in Kingston last November. Other results on the night were St. Vincent and the Grenadines 0-6 United States of America, Honduras 2-0 Canada, Trinidad and Tobago 2-2 Guatemala, Haiti 0-1 Costa Rica and El Salvador 1-3 Mexico.

The final set of games in this round will be played on Tuesday, Jamaica will host Haiti inside the National Stadium in Kingston.