February 23rd, 2012
Jamaica's goalscorer Jorginho James
The few faithful supporters that turned up at the National Stadium yesterday evening to view the 25th friendly international meeting between Jamaica and Cuba got a glimpse of Jamaica’s future, as 17-year-old Jorginho James came off the bench to score the game’s lone goal in the 85th minute and give the hosts a 1-0 victory.
James, who played for Kingston College in last year’s Manning Cup competition and is part of Harbour View’s under-21 team, entered the fray in the 82nd minute and spectacularly volleyed home a right-sided cross from Ryan Johnson from inside the area to earn Jamaica only their eighth friendly victory over their closest neighbours.
The result also broke a string of five consecutive defeats suffered by the Reggae Boyz, as well as kept intact the team’s five-year unbeaten run at ‘The Office’.
The first half was void of excitement, as despite Jamaica dominating possession they were unable the breach the determined Cuban defence.
The closest Jamaica came to finding the go-ahead goal in the opening stanza was in the 28th minute when a well- weighted 40-yard pass by Jermaine Hue found Navion Boyd on the right side of the field. Boyd’s effort from the top of the area was straight at Cuba’s custodian Odisnel Despaigne, who despite spilling the ball was not punished, as no opposing player was following up.
The partisan gathering in the stadium were convinced that Jamaica should have been awarded a penalty a minute later when Ryan Johnson went down in the Cuban area under pressure from two defenders. The ball, however, broke to Johnson’s teammate Joel Senior, making Panamanian referee Roberto Morena’s decision not to award a penalty much easier.
Reggae Boyz midfielder Joel Senior
Senior had Despaigne scurrying to cover his far post, as his 25-yard effort went inches wide.
Cuba’s one lost chance
Cuba’s lone effort on target in the first half came by way of Osay Domenech in the 33rd minute, but his tame effort was easily handled by Jamaica’s man between the sticks, Jacomeno Barrett.
The deadlock should have been broken four minutes after the resumption by Adrian Reid, as he towered above everyone, but headed over from four yards out after connecting with a Hue-delivered corner.
Cuba failed to offer much in attack, while Jamaica’s coach Theodore Whitmore made predominately attacking changes, as the team went in search of a goal.
The most telling change was made in the 82nd minute when James was brought on to replace Je-Vaughn Watson.
The teams will do battle again tomorrow at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
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