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Reggae Girlz lose to Venezuela at CAC Games opener

Thursday, July 19, 2018

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BARRANQUILLA, Colombia — Jamaica's Reggae Girlz suffered a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss against Venezuela after missing two penalties, one inside the final minute, in the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games football opener at the Estadio Julio Torres Moderno here yesterday afternoon.

“I haven't been in a game like this in a long time where we had every opportunity to win it, and should have won it, and we find a way to lose it,” said head coach, Lorne Donaldson.

Jamaica's go-to player and top striker, Khadija Shaw, who got injured as her ankle twisted into the astro turf at the fifth minute, was at one time the hero, but ended up being the villain.

Shaw scored at the 14th to give the Jamaicans the lead, taking a pass off Sashawna Campbell on the right side of the penalty box, from where she angled a grounder across Venezuela's captain and goalkeeper, Lisbeth Castro, into the far-side of the net.

The latter would later gain the upper hand in her battle against the towering Jamaica striker when she saved penalties taken by Shaw at the 74th and 93rd minutes. Both attempts were side-footed to either side of Castro, who dived to comfortably save the knee-height spot kicks.

To make matters worse, the second Venezuelan goal was conceded after a low free-kick eluded goalkeeper Chris-Ann Chambers' diving attempt, to squeeze into the net. Prior to that, Chambers was having a good game in terms of ball-handling, reading the game and interceptions against a team with good skill that moved the ball well along the ground while dominating possession.

Jamaica, however, with the omnipresent threat of Shaw, were content to sit back and defend then hit on the counter to create the better scoring opportunities, despite Chambers being forced to make a stupendous save, diving low to keep out a point-blank header from Oriana Altuve.

There were stoppages near the mid-point of either half, to give the players a cooling down break in the game that kicked off at 10:00 am, with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees and humidity 72.

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