In the end, Jamaica could not delay Canada’s qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They could only watch as the Canadians celebrated ending a near four-decade drought.
The Reggae Boyz were beaten 4-0 in their World Cup qualifying game yesterday afternoon at BMO Field in Toronto, keeping them winless in Canada in 10 tries. First-half goals from Cyle Larin in the 13th minute and Tajon Buchanan in the 44th minute gave Canada a comfortable lead while Junior Hoilett and an own goal from Adrian Mariappa in the 88th minute secured Canada’s place in the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and all but assured that they will finish the final round top of the standings.
While interim senior men’s head coach Paul Hall credited the fight and desire shown in their 1-1 draw against El Salvador on Thursday, they found it much tougher against the regional leaders, unable to create quality chances against a team that is still undefeated at home this season.
Hall made changes to Thursday’s game, which included a first national senior start for Atapharoy Bygrave coming after his international debut against El Salvador. Local players also featured with starts for Molynes United’s Nicholas Nelson, Mount Pleasant’s Daniel Green, and Waterhouse’s Ricardo Thomas.
On a cold afternoon, it was the Canadians who had the better of play and were ruthless in attack. In a game that was expected to be their coronation to the World Cup finals, they put the Jamaican defence to the sword early. Larin got his reward after 13 minutes, finishing from close range after he was put through on goal for his 13th goal of the campaign. A minute before half-time, the Jamaican backline could not clear the second phase of the initial free-kick and the ball managed to find Buchanan to tap in from close range past goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The second half was more of the same while Jamaica found it difficult to create problems for the Canadian backline. Jamaica only managed to have two shots in the entire game with only one on target. Canada, on the other hand, had 20 shots, with nine of those testing Blake, on a day that the defence could not come up with the answers.
Hall said that he was disappointed in how long it took for the team to settle into the game.
“We were under attack, especially down the right-hand side, and Canada showed that they were really after it to win the game. It took us a lot of time to get into the game, and the goal at 13 minutes really knocked some air out of our sails,” Hall said.
Canada ensured that the celebrations would begin early as Hoilett produced a delicate chip past Blake with eight minutes left to extend the lead. A difficult defensive effort would be further exposed as Mariappa’s attempted clearance on a low cross was redirected into his own net. Jamaica finish their road slate only winning one out of their seven matches. The Reggae Boyz remain in seventh place with eight points and will complete their campaign against Honduras this Wednesday at the National Stadium.
Andre Blake, Adrian Mariappa, Richard King, Gregory Leigh, Javain Brown (Tarick Ximines 46th minute), Devon Williams, Ravel Morrison, Ricardo Thomas ( Alex Marshall 56th minute, Athaparoy Bygrave, Daniel Green (Peter-Lee Vassell 70th minute), Nicholas Nelson (46th minute Lamar Walker)