Jamaica opened up its World Cup qualifying campaign with a decisive 6-0 win over Martinique in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. The 2014 Women’s Caribbean Cup runners-up sit atop Group B with a Costa Rican side that defeated Mexico. Jamaica will face Costa Rica next while Martinique play Mexico.
Jamaica’s Shakira Duncan rounds Martinique goalkeeper Cathy Bellune to score in Jamaica’s 6-0 win. #457329906 / gettyimages.com
Jamaica wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Christina Murray and Shakira Duncan scored within the first 10 minutes. The speed of the Reggae Girlz gave Martinique trouble throughout the game.
Martinique had a rare chance off a free kick in the 17th minute after a poor defensive clearance but Jamaican goalkeeper Nicole McClure was able to control the ball before Martinique’s Kelly Brena could get a touch on it. Donna-Kay Henry gave Martinique’s right side trouble all game and added another in the 22nd minute to give Jamaica a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.
The second half saw Martinique possess the ball a bit more, but as in the first half, Jamaica exploded for three goals in a six-minute span to seal the game. Second-half substitute Alexa Allen added one in the 72nd minute after a defensive miscue by Martinique’s defense. Christina Murray recorded her second goal in the 74th minute and Henry finished the scoring in the 77th minute with a left-footed shot inside the area.
Though the scoreline doesn’t reflect it, Aurelie Rouge was Martinique’s best defender and was key in breaking up several plays which might have resulted in an even more lopsided scoreline for Jamaica.
Jamaica faces a Costa Rica team that knocked off Mexico, 1-0, off an early Carolina Venegas goal. Look for Jamaica to continue to try and maximize its chances with its speed. Costa Rica will need to re-focus after its first victory over Mexico and maintain a well-organized shape. Jamaica’s 6-0 dismantling of Martinique gives it a goal-differential advantage that is crucial to avoiding a second-place group finish and the prospect of facing a probable first-place United States team in the semifinals.
For Martinique, they will meet a Mexico side coming off a stunning loss to Costa Rica and will need nothing less than three points to stay alive. Mexico’s head coach will need to have Alina Garciamendez in the lineup from the start to keep the back line organized. Though Martinique was overmatched by a fast Jamaican side, it showed patches of possession and will need to stay positive and look for opportunities off set pieces.