Jamaica ease past Suriname to build Gold Cup challenger credentials

Group C: Jamaica 2 Suriname 0

July 13 – Jamaica opened their Gold Cup campaign against tournament debutants Suriname at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando with a 2-0 win.

The Reggae Boyz wasted no time bringing in their new English league recruits with the Fulham duo of Bobby Decordova-Reid and Michael Hector linking particularly strongly on the right with Jamaica and Bayer Leverkusen talisman Leon Bailey.

It took just over five minutes before the Jamaican fans were rocking to Bob Marley’s One Love. An attack down the right initiated by Bailey eventually saw the ball come out to Shamar Nicholson who fired in from the edge of the box. For Jamaica it looked like the boys they had got together will make it be alright (sorry Bob).

It might not have been alright though. Two minutes later Suriname’s top scorer Gleofilo Vlijter was through with just Andre Blake in the Jamaican goal to beat, only to watch the ball slide wide of the post.

With Hector bossing the space in front of his defence, the opportunities for Suriname were infrequent.

On 25 minutes Decordova-Reid opened his goalscoring account for Jamaica. Another attack from the right hand side, driven by Bailey ,saw the ball cannon out to Decordova-Reid who volley the ball back in from the edge of box. Suriname’s goalkeeper Warner Hahn should have done better.

Suriname were not without chances. On 28 minutes winger Sheraldo Becker curled a shot that was saved by Blake. A minute later he was brought down on the edge of the box and, in what will probably be the roll of the Gold Cup 2021, he spun his way goalward. Just two or three more revolutions and Suriname would have at last managed to get something in the back of the net.

The referee, clearly a callous man, was unmoved. A stretcher was called to the scene but the victim had rediscovered the ability to stand. It was almost a biblical amount and at least worth a blast of ‘One Love’ from the sound system.

The second half saw Jamaica’s physical dominance continue though they were happy to sit back and absorb the Suriname attacks – Blake was rarely bothered and Jamaica used the five subs rule to give minutes to players on the bench.

Jamaica are targeting a long run in this tournament and while this was hardly a test of what they might be able to do, clearly they are not to be underestimated. They finished runner-up in both 2015 and 2017 – to the US and Mexico – and in 2019 were knocked out in the semi-finals by Mexico.

They have more time to fine tune against Guadeloupe on Friday before they meet Costa Rica in what will likely be the group decider.

Suriname, where citizens have only recently been given dual nationality with the Netherlands, could do worse than follow Jamaica’s example and dig deeper into their heritage players.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1721396593labto1721396593ofdlr1721396593owedi1721396593sni@o1721396593fni1721396593


El Salvador201416
Trinidad and Tobago021132
Costa Rica300629

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