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Gold Cup 2021: Jamaica, Costa Rica Advance to Quarterfinals After Difficult Wins

Neither favorite in Group C had an easy night but both managed to do enough to advance to the knockout stage with one group game remaining.

Image courtesy of Concacaf communications

The second match day for Group C took place in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup at Exploria Stadium, pitting Guadeloupe against Jamaica in the early match and Suriname versus Costa Rica in the nightcap. Jamaica stayed unbeaten with a 2-1 win over Guadeloupe in the first game and Costa Rica surviving a stubborn Suriname side.

The underdogs put up a much better fight on the second match day in Group C, but in the end both were eliminated. Costa Rica and Jamaica will play each other next Tuesday for the top of the group.


Jamaica 2, Guadeloupe 1

Guadeloupe wasted no time letting the Jamaicans know they’d be in for a fight. In just the fourth minute, Edwing Malpon sent Dimitri Ramothe down the right in all alone on Andre Blake’s goal. Ramothe took a shot that took a slight deflection off a defender, hit the right post and went in to give Guadeloupe an early 1-0 lead. Concacaf somehow decided that despite defender Amari’i Bell being directly between Ramothe and the goal, that the deflection made it an own goal by Bell rather than Ramothe’s.

It took the Jamaicans 10 minutes to respond but they did so emphatically. Philadelphia Union striker Cory Burke smashed a cannon shot just inside the right post from outside the penalty area to tie the match at 1-1 in the 14th minute.

Leon Bailey thought he gave Jamaica the lead in the 25th minute. After an initial chip attempt was stopped by goalkeeper Yohann Thuram, the ball rebounded back to Bailey. His second chip had more air under it and found the net but the flag came up and replay showed Bailey was well offside on the play.

Minutes later, there was a scary moment when Burke went down after a clash of heads in the penalty area on a set piece but he was able to continue.

Shamar Nicholson nearly gave the Reggae Boyz the lead in the 39th minute with a soft shot back against the grain but Thuram was able to make the save.

The last good chance of the first half fell to Guadeloupe’s Malpon, who sizzled a shot toward goal from the left corner of the box. Blake went up and made a strong fingertip save to keep the game knotted at 1-1.

Jamaica out-shot Guadeloupe 7-5 in the opening half (3-2 on goal) and had more possession (54%-46%). Guadeloupe had more corners (2-1) and was more accurate in passing (85%-83%).

Nicholson should have given Jamaica the lead in the 62nd minute. Burke broke in down the left and no one was covering Nicholson streaking down the right in transition. Burke got a good pass across and Nicholson completely flubbed his lines, sending his shot high into the stands from about 10 yards out in front of goal.

The second half got a bit sloppy from both teams, with Jamaica applying pressure at times but unable to pick out a final pass. Guadeloupe didn’t get forward as much and when it did, things generally unraveled before a shot could be taken.

However, substitute Vikash Tille lashed a strong shot on target in the 81st minute that forced Blake into a good save to preserve the deadlock for Jamaica. It was Guadeloupe’s only shot of the second half and the Gwada Boys didn’t seem particularly interested in going for the win on a late corner kick, sending only three players into the area for the set piece.

Jamaica fashioned the winning goal with a good individual move. Junior Flemmings made a nice move in the box to get down the left side but had very little angle to shoot. He shot anyway and the strike went straight at Thuram but the Guadeloupe keeper let the ball go right through his legs for the go-ahead goal in the 87th minute. It was Thuram’s second howler in as many matches.

Thuram did keep his team in the game in stoppage time, as Andre Gray cut in from left to right and fired a shot in the 93rd minute. Thuram did well to make a diving save to keep Guadeloupe in it but his teammates couldn’t get a good look at goal over the final moments of the match.

Jamaica improved to 2-0-0 in the group with six points and a +3 goal differential. The Reggae Boyz out-shot Guadeloupe 16-6 (6-3 on target) and held more possession (54%-46%). Each team had three corners and Guadeloupe was the more accurate passing team (88%-82%).


Costa Rica 2, Suriname 1

For the first time in the tournament, a Group C match did not feature a goal inside the first 10 minutes. Suriname held possession well for the opening 20 minutes but didn’t do much with it. Even when the Natio got into good positions, they tried playing safe and turned down shooting opportunities in favor of back passing, looking for the perfect shot to present itself.

Costa Rica took advantage by trying to strike on the counter, with Luis Diaz firing over the bar from a promising attack in the 16th minute.

Much of the first half was played between the two penalty areas but Suriname fashioned the first excellent scoring chance in the 40th minute when Sheraldo Becker got down the left side, cut in and fired a shot toward the far post. Esteban Alvarado, the Costa Rican goalkeeper, did well to get a hand to the shot and the Ticos were able to clear the danger. Ignore the caption, the save was for Costa Rica to deny Suriname.

Marc Jozefzoon fired a free kick just wide of Alvarado’s goal from a free kick in first-half stoppage time and that was the last good opportunity of the opening period. The teams went into the break deadlocked at 0-0.

Suriname led in shot attempts (5-4), shots on target (4-2), and possession (57%-43%), with Costa Rica holding an advantage in corners (2-0) and passing accuracy (91%-82%).

The second half began and a tight match opened up considerably. Suriname struck first when Geofilo Vlijter sent a spinning shot past Alvarado and into the far side of the net in the 52nd.

It was a deserved lead for Suriname, which had been the better side to that point in the match, but that was about to change.

Costa Rica struck back in the 58th minute when a cross in from Ronald Matarrita on the left found Joel Campbell, who got across his defender and headed in to make it 1-1.

A minute later, the Ticos were ahead. A bad pass out of the back ignited the Costa Rica break and Campbell took a shot after getting in behind. Warner Hahn got a hand to the shot but left a rebound out in front of the net. Celso Borges was first to the loose ball and smashed it home to make it 2-1 to Costa Rica in the 59th minute.

Suriname had a chance to equalize in the 63rd minute. Substitute Nigel Hasselbaink got down the left side and crossed in past Alvarado. Kelvin Leerdam just needed to touch it home and he made contact with the ball but sent the shot wide of the post.

DIon Malone nodded over the bar on a set piece in the 73rd as Suriname continued to chase the game.

Two minutes later, Costa Rica should have salted the match away. A great cross through the box by Ariel Lassiter found Borges all alone on the right side of goal but the Costa Rican captain hit his shot wide of the far post, leaving Suriname with a chance.

Ivenzo Comvalius split two defenders on the right in the 83rd minute and fired, forcing a diving clearance by the Costa Rica defense that led to a corner. On the ensuing set piece, Costa Rica defender Francisco Calvo hit Ryan Donk in the face. After video review, Calvo was sent off and even though the foul was in the area, the ball hadn’t yet been put in play so it wasn’t a penalty.

Calvo will miss the Jamaica match on Tuesday and so will his replacement, Kendall Waston, who subbed on but entered the pitch without getting waved on by the referee and picked up a silly second yellow in the tournament as a result.

Comvalius nearly became a national hero for Suriname in stoppage time, cutting in and smashing a shot that hit the right post. Costa Rica withstood a late corner and held on to win the match and advance to the quarterfinals. Suriname was eliminated in cruel fashion, as the upstarts in their first ever Gold Cup were the better side for much of the game.

Each team fired 11 shot attempts, with Suriname getting more on target (7-5). Suriname held more possession (53%-47%) and won more corners (3-2). Costa Rica held the advantage in passing accuracy (89%-84%).


Group C action will conclude on Tuesday. Jamaica and Costa Rica will meet in the early match at Exploria Stadium, while Guadeloupe and Suriname will square off in Houston at BBVA Stadium. Panama and Grenada from Group D will be the late match at Exploria Stadium on Tuesday. The reason for the venue switches is that all of the final match day games in each group have to be played at the same time.


Group C Standings

Costa Rica: 2-0-0, 6 points, +3 GD

Jamaica: 2-0-0, 6 points, +3 GD

Guadeloupe: 0-2-0, 0 points, -3 GD

Suriname: 0-2-0, 0 points, -3 GD