Boyz held 1-1 by El Salvador
Jamaica continued their unbeaten run in the CONCACAF Gold Cup when they battled to a 1-1 draw against El Salvador at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, yesterday.
The Reggae Boyz, who had already qualified to the quarter-final knockout stage, ended Group C on five points, following a 2-0 win against Curacao and a 0-0 draw against Mexico. El Salvador also booked a spot in the next stage as they ended on four points.
Nelson Bonilla scored for El Salvador in the 15th minute, while Darren Mattocks netted a penalty for the Reggae Boyz in the 64th minute.
Jamaica came close to scoring in the first minute when striker Romario Williams steered wide after a one-on-one chance with El Salvador custodian Derby Carillo.
SEARCHING FOR A POINT
The Central Americans came into the game in search of, at least, a point to make it to the knockout and took control of the first half for the most part.
El Salvador scored when Bonilla squeezed a shot past Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake from an acute angle. That was the first goal scored against Jamaica in 196 minutes during this year's Gold Cup.
Williams had a good effort saved by Carillo in the 38th minute. His shot hit the keeper's leg and was deflected from the goal.
With the introduction of Owayne Gordon for Cory Burke at the start of the second half, the Jamaicans looked more purposeful. They were awarded a penalty when Narciso Orellana handled the ball inside the 18-yard box.
Mattocks, who was scoring his fourth goal in five Gold Cup appearances, stepped up and easily converted the penalty kick.
Coach of Jamaica men's national senior team Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore said that he was disappointed with how the team started the game.
"I'm very disappointed as the team started out a bit slow against El Salvador. We created more opportunities than in previous games, and we welcome the point," Whitmore said during a post-match press conference.
When quizzed about whether he was concerned about his job as coach, Whitmore, who is a former Reggae Boyz captain, responded: "I am not under no pressure (as coach). We won once and drew twice in three games. We will leave that up to the Federation."
"I think it (the performance) was a mixture. Regardless of the result, we would go through, and that played on players' minds. El Salvador needed a point to go to the next round and got it," he reasoned.
Mattocks, who is the Reggae Boyz top scorer in the Gold Cup, was happy that the team progressed to the knockout stage.
"It's a tournament. We just want to advance. We are pretty satisfied that we advanced," Mattocks, who also netted in the first game against Curacao, said.
"The second round will be tough. It's a young team, so it will be difficult. It was good to score for the team," he added.