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Reggae Boyz overcome late scare to beat Dominica 3-2 in World Cup Qualifier

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Despite securing a 3-2 victory over Dominica in their CONCACAF Group E World Cup qualifier, Reggae Boyz assistant coach John Wall admitted the team’s performance was not as impressive as the result suggested.

The match, held Sunday in Dominica, saw Jamaica nearly squander a three-goal lead in the final minutes.

The Jamaicans, buoyed by a brace from Shamar Nicholson and a goal from Kaheim Dixon, looked set for a comfortable win, going 3-0 up with seven minutes remaining. However, late goals from Dominica’s Javid George and Troy Jules led to a tense finish.

“The result was better than the performance,” Wall said. “We should have killed this game a lot earlier based on the chances that we had. The conversion rate was low. The best of it was the result. We got away with three points.”

An early scare

Dominica started vibrantly, creating an early scare that the Reggae Boyz defense managed to avert. Jamaica appeared lethargic initially, taking time to establish their dominance, while the hosts grew in confidence as the half progressed.

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The Reggae Boyz created their best opening after 20 minutes when Kaheim Dixon crossed to Shamar Nicholson, whose header was saved by goalkeeper Glenson Prince. Three minutes later, Dixon missed a golden opportunity, steering his effort just wide.

Nicholson broke the deadlock in the 30th minute, capitalizing on a defensive error to toe the ball past Prince for his second goal in as many qualifying games. He and Dixon continued to torment the Dominica defense, with Dixon scoring in the 40th minute after dismissing his marker to make it 2-0.

After the break, the duo continued to create chances, with Dixon hitting the post and Nicholson failing to convert several opportunities. Nicholson eventually scored his second and Jamaica’s third from the penalty spot after a handball in the box.

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Dominica pulled a goal back

Dominica pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute when George rounded Jahmali Waite and fired home. Jules then made it 3-2 with an excellent free-kick in the 88th minute, setting up a nervy finish for Jamaica.

Wall acknowledged the team’s dominance for much of the match but pointed out external factors that contributed to their sloppiness. “The three points are excellent because you cannot win more than three points. But it (slow start) was more based on the pitch which left a lot to be asked for,” he noted. “It is 100 meters in depth (length) and 72 to 75 meters wide. That’s a cricket pitch and for me it is not up to standard.”

Despite the challenges, Wall credited Dominica for their resilience following a 6-0 defeat to Guatemala in their first game. “Dominica played well within their means, and counterattacked with the two to three players they have up front. But we should have controlled the game much better and finished it off with the chances that we had.”

Jamaica trails Guatemala in the group on goal difference, with both teams winning their first two matches to sit atop the standings with six points each. Wall emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and improving performance in future matches. “It is always hard to play away from home with external factors like the pitch and with players coming back after a restart, and there is a short time between game one and game two. But overall, three points, you cannot get more than that,” he concluded.

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