The wait of a decade to win at home against Mexico will have to continue.
However, Jamaica assured that they will have a small advantage over their group in the CONCACAF League of Nations towards the new year after their 1-1 draw at the National Stadium last night, but what more importantly, it is one of the two teams in the group to win next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Leon Bailey gave Reggae Boyz the lead in the fourth minute, while Luis Romo equalized in the third minute of the first half’s timeout when it rained.
Although it was a nervous, and sometimes frustrating, defensive performance, the Boyz held on to the Mexican charge of sharing the spoils. In fact, the Jamaicans also had a chance to get a famous victory.
The last time Jamaica faced Mexico was in January in their World Cup qualifier, where they lost 2-1. Defender Damion Lowe was sent off in that game. Jamaica’s last home win against Mexico was in 2008, when Ricardo Fuller scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
Interim coach Paul Hall has welcomed the return of goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake to the starting line-up after missing the last two games due to an undisclosed injury.
Jamoi Topey replaced injured Richard King, while Bailey returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in his 3-1 win over Suriname.
Mexico attacked from the start, with the locals almost fitting in the first two minutes. Blake’s confident hand denied the short-range effort on that occasion.
But two minutes later, the home team took the lead with their first attack sequence of the match. A pass to the side pulled the defense out of position which let Shaman Nicholson slip through on goal. He successfully avoided all challenges and cracked home the shot for 1 – 0!
Jamaica came close to extending their lead as Nicholson delivered a low effort on goal from the right after 80 minutes, but the angle was too narrow and the shot went harmlessly into the side netting.
Still, Jamaica continued to look vulnerable on the defensive, as Mexicans found joy on Jamaica’s left. Oberlin Pineda was allowed to take it quickly by the referee, much to the dismay of the goalkeeper who wasn’t prepared.
Jamaica absorbed the pressure for the final 15 minutes of the half, although Bailey’s effort at 34 could have hurt.
Mexican pressure finally broke the Jamaican defense with the last shot of the half.
From a foul, the delivery found Romo’s head, which guided the ball over Blake.
The second half saw Jamaica show an early initiative with their first shot reproducing the euphoria of the first half.
A pass from Bailey found Nicholson and raised the ball over Mexican goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota, forcing the Mexican defense to clear the goal line.
While Jamaica tried to stay ahead after the resumption, Mexicans found ways to maintain Jamaica’s honesty.
Blake was forced to make numerous stops during this period and as the rain came in the last 15 minutes, the Jamaicans would stay strong enough to escape with a point.
Jamaica leads the group with five points, while Mexico is second with four. The Reggae Boyz will face Mexico in their decisive group next March.
Jamaica XI: Andre Blake, Javain Brown, Amarii Bell, Damion Loew, Jamoi Topey, Devon Williams, Kevon Lambert (Rolando Aarons minute 81), Ravel Morrison, Leon Bailey, Junior Flemmings, Shamar Nicholson.