Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz were held to a 1-1 draw by Costa Rica in their key CONCACAF semi-final round FIFA World Cup qualifier inside the National Stadium last night. Goals in either half by Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson and Costa Rica’s Johnny Acosta has left things interestingly poised in the group. The Jamaicans grabbed a deserved lead in the 16th minute after midfielder Watson went low to meet a teasing Kemar Lawrence cross at the back post, sending his header in the opposite direction. They could have been 2-0 up just before half time, but Clayton Donaldson could not make contact with a low cross by Joel McAnuff as the hosts looked comfortable in possession, while enjoying the better chances. Earlier, McAnuff missed one of several Jamaican opportunities as he wasted a glorious chance to send the Jamaicans ahead in the 8th minute, after he was found unmarked at the back-post after a flicked header, which came from a long throw by full back Lawrence. HALF-CHANCES The visitors ended the first half with a couple half-chances themselves, but were not able to break the Jamaican backline. They did, however, get the breakthrough in the 67th minute when Johnny Acosta latched on to a rebound to make it 1-1 after Joel Campbell’s shot was well saved by Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake. Both teams traded chances but neither could add to the scoreline, leaving the Jamaicans to deal with another disappointing result in front of their home crowd. The Jamaicans now sit on four points with the Costa Ricans improving to seven points. Haiti and Panama played out a 0-0 draw in the group’s other game. The Jamaicans will travel to Costa Rica where both teams will meet again on Tuesday.
Stars were lucky to be level at 0-0 at the break after Madagascar themselves had a penalty, but keeper Patrick Matasi came to the rescue with a powerful left arm to ensure the boys stood a chance despite a poor first half.Off a swiftly executed counter, Madagascar were away and Metanire Romain sent Tsilavina Martin through into the box. Matasi came out to cover and in his outstretched arms brought down the lanky forward.From the resultant penalty, the keeper made amends, leaping to is right and his strong left hand parried Charles Andriamahitsinoro’s penalty onto the crossbar and out.Harambee Stars winger Ayub Timbe vies for the ball with Madagascar’s Charles Andriamahitsinoro during their friendly match at the Stade Robert Boban in Paris on June 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluMadagascar who camped in Kenya’s half for most of the opening 45 minutes created more chances and should have been up by at least two or more goals, were they more clinical in the final third.They started knocking on the door early with Rayan providing the first danger with a curled ball that went just over when he cited Matasi a few yards off his line.In the 22nd minute, Andriamahitsinoro came inches close when his shot from inside the box was deflected onto the crossbar after Kenya struggled to clear the ball from a cutback on the left.Just before that effort, Kenya had survived another flow of attack, this time thanks to Musa Mohammed who made a great block after throwing his body on the floor to keep out a shot from Andriatsina Faneva.Harambee Stars winger Ayub Timbe moves ahead against a challenge from Madagascar’s Tsilavina Martin during their friendly match at the Stade Robert Boban in Paris on June 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluOn the half hour mark, Philemon Otieno almost turned the ball into his own net when he tried to block a cross from Romain with Matasi off his line but luckily for him the ball sailed inches wide.Andriamahitsinoro had another big chance when his freekick was swayed by the wind, but Matasi punched the ball away.Kenya’s best and probably only good chance of the game was off an Eric Johannah freekick that was fisted away by the keeper. Ayub Timbe was Kenya’s most colorful player, but most of his runs and dribbles couldn’t bring much of results.At the start of the second half, Migne made changes, Musa, Johannah and John Avire coming off for Joseph Okumu, Eric Ouma and Michael Olunga.Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga gallops upfield against Madagascar during their friendly match at the Stade Robert Boban in Paris on June 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThe changes saw Kenya’s performance improve with Olunga proving a menace to the Madagascar backline. He showed his prowess within minutes, winning the ball from range but his shot went wide.The improved performance with the introduction of pace on the wing and some assured legs in attack saw Kenya get rewarded with the game’s opening goal.Timbe broke away on the left and his attempted cross was cut off by the arms of Norel Jeremy. Skipper Wanyama stepped up and made no mistake from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way.Stars were buoyed by the lead and hugely improved. Olunga came close when he picked up the ball at the edge of the box cutting off a Madagascar miss pass, but his curling effort went inches wide off target.Madagascar had two late chances on the other end, but both went begging as Stars held on for the victory.0Shares0000(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Victor Wanyama steps up to score the penalty against Madagascar in a friendly match at the Stade Robert Boban in Paris on June 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluPARIS, France, Jun 7 – Victor Wanyama’s 62nd minute penalty handed Kenya’s Harambee Stars a 1-0 win over Madagascar at the Stade Robert Bobin in Paris, France on Friday night in their first of two pre-African Cup of Nations (AFCON) build up matches.The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder slotted in the game’s lone goal in a second half that saw Stars show a much improved performance, commanding play better and creating scoring opportunities courtesy of three half time changes.