Jamaica stun US to reach Gold Cup final

Jamaica stun US to reach Gold Cup final
PHOTO: Reuters

Jamaica's "Reggae Boyz" delivered defending champions United States a humbling 2-1 defeat on Wednesday, becoming the first Caribbean football squad to reach the Gold Cup final by shocking the heavily-favoured hosts.

After Jamaican defenders disrupted US attacks for the first half hour, Darren Mattocks nodded home the first goal in the 31st minute and Giles Barnes scored from a free kick in the 36th - set up by a controversial violation on US goalkeeper Brad Guzan - to put Jamaica ahead 2-0, and signal that an epic upset was in the making at the sold-out Georgia Dome.

US captain Michael Bradley answered in the 48th minute, but the Americans never managed an equaliser against the stubborn Caribbean backline and lost to a Jamaican side who were 1-13, with eight drawn, in their previous matches.

"We made history by getting into the final. It shows what this team is capable of," Barnes said. "We've shocked a few people along the way, but we've not shocked ourselves. We don't fear anybody. We put out a great team."

On Sunday, in Philadelphia, Jamaica will play for the crown against six-time champions Mexico, who edged out Panama 2-1 in the other semi-final of the biennial North American regional championship.

"We cannot have a party now. We still have one more match," Jamaican coach Winfried Schaefer said. "Bob Marley comes after the match."

In Jamaica, the late reggae legend's music might be playing all day and night until the match.

"Just incredible. The feeling right now is just insane," Barnes said. "The phone hasn't stopped. Back in Jamaica, there's got to be a party on. It will be even bigger when we lift the Cup on Sunday."

The Americans, the five-time champions, had won their past five Gold Cup semi-finals but were undone by a Jamaican side who matched their best runs in 1993 and 1998 just to make the last four.

They were the first Caribbean semi-finalists since Guadeloupe in 2007.

"The team is disappointed," US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "I cannot complain about the performance of the team. They kept pushing, pushing, pushing.

"We had enough chances - to put three, four, five in there and we didn't do it, and that's why we lost.

"Congratulations to Jamaica on making the final, and we have to swallow that pill.

"The luck was not with us but maybe we were not clinical enough as well. We saw a lot of good stuff but it's the goals that matter."

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