Dream up in smoke

Young Girlz crash out, lose 6-7 to Puerto Rico on penalties

Observer staff reporter

Monday, October 23, 2017

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Jamaica's Under-17 Reggae Girlz crashed out of the CONCACAF CFU Championship play-off game when they lost 6-7 on penalties to Puerto Rico at the Stade Sylvio Cator stadium in the Haitian capital yesterday.

The match was locked at 1-1 at full time after Garielle Cimino had given Puerto Rico the lead in the 75th minute before Olufolasade Adamolekun equalised for the Jamaicans in the 77th.

In the penalty kicks, goalkeeper Chelsia Schloss had given the Jamaicans the advantage when she dived correctly to save Mariana Varela's strike with the Jamaicans leading 3-2, but Nevillegail Able fired straight at Cristina Roque to put Jamaica in trouble.

Able had failed to follow in the sharpshooting footsteps of team mates Adamolekun, Shaquilla Forbes and Giselle Washington who went before her.

At 6-6, Gabrielle Scarlett stepped up, but the Jamaican, with no power in her strike failed to beat Roque. The stage was set for Puerto Rico's Lilliana Graves to send her team to next year's CONCACAF Championship to be held in Nicargua.

The young Girlz entered the tournament as defending champions, but found the going difficult from their first game going down 2-3 to Bermuda. Jamaica bounced back and beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 to make the play-off, where their dreams crashed.

In the championship final, hosts Haiti were leading Bermuda 1-0 at press time. Haiti, Bermuda and Puerto Rico have qualified for CONCACAF finals.

Jamaica coach Xavier Gilbert said while he is disappointed with the loss, he was pleased with how his charges played.

“I don't think that we deserved to lose today (yesterday). We started off well and credit must be given to the girls on how they performed. We were much better today (yesterday), it was one of our better games of the tournament, but unfortunately, we came up on the losing end in the penalties,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

An opportunity came for the opening goal for Jamaica in the 31st minute, but captain Monique Perrier fired over the crossbar from inside the box. Two minutes later Gabrielle Scarlett's attempted header went wide of the target.

Adamolekun managed to squeak her way between two Puerto Rico defenders, but her soft shot was easily picked up by Roque in goal.

In the Jamaica defence, Able was brilliant in keeping the Puerto Rican attackers at bay, especially in the first half.

It was an even start on the resumption, but as game grew the momentum favoured the Jamaicans. In the 51st minute Adamloekun found some room to unleash, but sent her shot over the crossbar in what could have been the opening goal. Rochell Gray then tried from a distance, but her strike went over the crossbar in the 57th minute.

The young Girlz then had a scare when goalkeeper Schloss failed to gather the ball with an opponent lurking nearby, but luckily Giselle Washington was alert and made the clearance in minute number 67.

Cimino stuck a dagger in the hearts of the Jamaicans when she fired home from close up to give Puerto Rico the lead. But the Jamaicans' response was quick and decisive when Adamolekun guided home.

Substitute Christina Salmon had a chance to put the Jamaicans in front in the 79th minute, but she fired straight at the goalkeeper.

The Jamaicans desperately tried to find the clincher, but could not and were forced to pin their hopes on the penalty lottery.




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