Under-20 Boyz’ World Cup dream fades with loss to Panama

“I don’t know if seven points can carry us through, but we want to finish good in the competition. If we can win the next two games we can end up with seven points,” said Hyde in a post-match interview.

Jamaica are currently second from bottom in the six-team Group A with one point from three games after losing back-to-back games against Guatemala, and more recently against Panama.

Panama are on top of the group with maximum nine points following goals by Edson Samms in the 56th minute and Ismael Diaz in the 86th for their third consecutive win.

“It’s really an uphill battle. We started out well, we played a disciplined first half and the talk in the changing room was that we will maintain that discipline right throughout,” revealed Hyde.

He continued: “We lapsed 10 minutes into the second half and we gave Panama a goal and that set us back. When you are chasing against a quality team it’s going to be tough to come back. So we went out looking for a goal, and in that same breath, we gave up another goal. The players tried but it wasn’t meant for us today.”

Guatemala are second in the group with seven points ahead of the United States of America (USA) and Trinidad and Tobago — both on four points. The Americans, however, are third based on their better goal difference after swamping pointless Aruba 8-0.

“We just have to try and get a victory or two before this competition finishes,” Hyde reiterated. But he acknowledged the difficult task at hand in lifting the players for the games against USA and Aruba.

“It’s going to be difficult because even when I left them in the changing room their heads dropped. So it’s going to be a task. But we are not playing until Sunday so we have a little bit more time to get them motivated again,” said Hyde.

Hosts Jamaica turned in another uninspired display, although defensively they were more organised and held their own against a quality Panama team that are favourites to top the group and qualify automatically to the FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.

The young Reggae Boyz held their own until right back Ricardo Johnson mis-kicked and allowed Samms through on goal and the striker made no mistake, firing past the advancing Nicholas Nelson in goal.

Jamaica responded and got a few look-in with striker Donja Smith on at least three occasions misfiring when he could have shown a little more composure in the box.

With the hosts pressing for that crucial equalising goal, Panama struck once again as Diaz collected a ball on top of the box and found space to shoot past the diving Nelson to seal the win for Panama.

Jamaica, who will play USA on Sunday, have an uphill task of making the top-three to at least give themselves a play-off shot at qualification.

The young Reggae Boyz can gain a maximum seven points if they defeat the Americans and Aruba, and as it stands and measured against the laws of probability, their chances appear bleak.


Jamaica – Nicholas Nelson, Rennico Clarke, John Luca Levee (Cardel Benbow 64th), Malcolm Stewart, Roberto Johnson, I’ishmale Currie, Khallil Stewart, Shaquille Dyer, Allando Brown. Junior Flemmings (Martin Davis 77th), Donja Smith (Daniel Roberts 82nd).

Subs not used: Dane Chambers, Joel Cunningham, Shamar Nicholson, Isamnia Cohen.

Booked: Flemmings (63rd)

Panama: Jaime de Gracia, Chin Hormechea, Michael Murillo, Fidel Escobar, Julian Velarde, Luis Pereira, Ismael Diaz (Fabian Salcedo 90+3), Jhamal Rodriguez, Jesus Araya, Edson Samms (Ervin Zorrilla 90th), Carlos Small.

Subs not used: Pedro Campos, Jomar Diaz, Justin Simons, Richard Rodriguez, Ruben Barrow.

Booked: Escobar (63rd)

Referee: Henry Bejarano (Costa Rica)

Assistant referees: Warner Castro, (Costa Rica), Hiran Dopico (Cuba)

Fourth Official: Yardel Martinez (Cuba)

Match Commissary: Hillaren Frederick (US Virgin Island).


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