BY SEAN WILLIAMS
Boyz clinch draw just before whistle – World Cup dream hangs by thread
AS Jamaica’s World Cup dream suffered a potentially fatal body blow with a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica in their match at the National Stadium last night, crowd favourite Jermaine ‘Tuffy’ Anderson had his moment of redemption.
The Waterhouse striker, who was kept out of the team by the previous coaching team, gave Jamaicans something to cheer about in the dying moments when he scored to give the Reggae Boyz hopes of a comeback having entered the field of play in the 68th minute.
But Costa Rica, who scored in the 74th minute through another substitute, Randall Brenes, moved to 15 points in the CONCACAF hexagonal play-offs, and secured qualification along with the USA, who defeated Mexico 2-0 at home to boost their points tally to 16, for a safe passage to the Brazil 2014 World Cup Finals.
Honduras followed up their 2-1 victory over Mexico at the Azteca last Friday with a 2-2 result against Panama at home to move to 11 points, while Panama inched up a place to fourth on eight points, the same as Mexico. Jamaica advanced to four points, but remained firmly rooted at the bottom of the six-nation group, but having failed to gather maximum points and with nearest rivals Mexico and Panama doing likewise, the Reggae Boyz were kept on life support, as they still have a mathematical chance of stealing fourth place, should they register maximum points from their two remaining games, and neither Mexico nor Panama score a win in either of their games.
The team that finishes in fourth place will earn another chance at qualification when they engage the winner of the Oceania region, New Zealand, in a home-and-away play-off series in mid November.
Jamaica will oppose the USA on October 11 in Kansas City, and then Honduras at home four days later, while Mexico welcome Panama to the Azteca on October 11, before travelling to the already qualified Costa Rica on October 15, as Panama entertain the US on the same day.
Jamaica made their first purposeful move on goal in the fifth minute when Marlon King volleyed from the back post from a floated corner in by Shaun Cummings.
Costa Rica responded a minute later through captain Bryan Ruiz, who rifled goalward, but stand-in goalkeeper Richard McCallum had to fist away the ball.
In minute 13, Ruiz was at it again with another shot from distance, and again McCallum had to mop up.
Jamaica made a breakaway down the right side in the 17th minute with skipper Luton Shelton, but his low cross inside could not find Jobi McAnuff, who had sprinted up field to lend support.
The Boyz had another chance courtesy of Shelton, whose right-footed free kick from 25 yards was held by Costa Rican custodian Patrick Pemberton, even as it took a slight deflection.
Garath McCleary re-ignited the Jamaican offensive thrust in the 64th when he dribbled across the field and got himself into a shooting position, but his final right-footed effort from 20 yards, went wide.
At the other end, something was going terribly wrong when goalkeeper McCallum’s poor pass out of his area lacked logic and conviction and rolled nicely for an alert Brenes. The Costa Rican substitute licked his finger at the generous gift from the goalkeeper to beat the Jamaican at his near post.
But after some probing, Jamaica’s goal came from hometown hero Anderson, who drifted wide for a gentle tap in after a long lofted ball from defender Jermaine Taylor found its mark.
But as it turned out, and sadly, the Waterhouse man’s goal was a piece of magic too little, too late in front of about 7,000 spectators, nearly half of which we clad in Costa Rica’s red and white.
Teams: Jamaica — Richard McCallum, Adrian Mariappa, Westley Morgan, Jermaine Taylor, Lloyd Doyley, Shaun Cummings, Marvin Elliott (Chris Humphrey 83rd), Garath McCleary, Joel McAnuff, Luton Shelton (Jermaine Beckford 46th), Marlon King (Jermaine Anderson 68th).
Subs not used: Jacomeno Barrett, Gariece McPherson, , Kemar Lawrence, Darren Mattocks, Jermaine Johnson, Ryan Johnson, O’Brian Woodbine, Daniel Gordon, Theo Robinson.
Costa Rica — Patrick Pemberton, Michael Umana, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Johnny Acosta, Junior Diaz, Christian Gamboa, Celso Borges, Yeltsin Tejeda (Jose Miguel Cubero 57th), Diego Calvo (Randall Brenes 68th), Joel Campbell (Carlos Johnson 78th), Bryan Ruiz.
Subs not used: Leonel Moriera, Oscar Duarte, Oscar Esteban Granados, Bryan Oviedo, Victor Nunez, Mauricio Castillo, Yendrick Ruiz, Michael Barrantes.
Referee: Jair Antonio Marrufo (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Eric Boria (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frank Anderson (USA)
Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu (Canada)
Referee Assessor: Luis Enrique Yero Rodriquez (Cuba)