Puebla, Mexico — Jamaica made a huge step toward World Cup qualification with an impressive 4-1 win over Puerto Rico in Group C action of the CONCACAF Championship here at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc last evening.
Prolific St George's College Manning Cupper Kendon Anderson grabbed a brace in the 70th and 81st minute after replacing Cleon Pryce at the interval.
Omar Holness had given Jamaica a ninth-minute lead, but Reid Strain had pulled Puerto Rico level in the 26th minute.
Damian Lowe restored Jamaica's advantage in the 62nd minute and became one of the rare father-son combinations to score for their country. His father, Onandi Lowe, scored approximately 27 times for Jamaica from 65 games.
Jamaica, with their emphatic victory, moved to the top of the three-team group with three points and will next be in action against Panama on Saturday.
Puerto Rico, who play Panama tomorrow, are pointless and must win to stay in the tournament.
With two teams advancing from the group, Jamaica look a safe bet to be one of the two, but coach Luciano Gama will have some work to do, as the finishing was rather poor against a clearly weak Puerto Rican aggregation.
Jamaica started with five players that participated in the Under-17 World Cup two years ago, and stamped their authority early.
The Young Reggae Boyz opened the scoring courtesy of a powerful shot from Omar Holness from just inside the box.
But despite bossing possession and threatening to score, Puerto Rico did just that against the run of play. From a rare foray forward, Strain tapped home after the Jamaican defence failed to deal with a simple free kick, which bounced favourably to him.
Jamaica were clearly the better team but they failed to put away their chances and must have been disappointed going in 1-1 at the break.
However, the Jamaicans came out full of running in the second half, stepped up the pace and with the introduction of Anderson, ran out easy winners.
After sustained pressure Lowe fired home from a corner kick before Anderson headed home from close range, then completed his double by latching onto a through ball before calmly slotting home.