A magnificent long-range free-kick from
Luton Shelton gave Jamaica a surprise 2-1 victory over
the United States in their CONCACAF region World Cup qualifer on
Jamaica's first ever win over the U.S was thoroughly
deserved after they fought back with determination from the
early blow of Clint Dempsey's first minute goal.
The two sides meet again in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday and
while both are expected to advance from group one into the
six-team final qualifying phase, the pressure is on Jurgen
Klinsmann's U.S team.
Having only drawn their opening game, away to Guatemala
before beating Antigua and Barbuda, the U.S are now second in
the group on four points, trailing Jamaica by three.
Dempsey, who recently moved from Fulham to Tottenham Hotspur
in the English Premier League, put the U.S ahead in just the
36th second, slotting home after Herculez Gomez's shot was
blocked on the line.
But the 'Reggae Boyz' drew level in the 24th minute when
Rodolph Austin, who also plays in England with second tier Leeds
United, struck a low free-kick which took a slight deflection
off Kyle Beckerman in the U.S wall.
It was a scrappy battle for the rest of the first half with
the Americans struggling to retain possession in midfield
against the hard-working Caribbeans.
Dempsey went close again just before the break when he slid
in to meet a Michael Parkhurst cross but Jamaica keeper Dwayne
Miller got down well to save.
After the interval, Austin forced American keeper Tim Howard
into action with a stinging shot from a full 30 yards out and as
the game wore on, the home side grew in confidence.
Jamaica got their reward in the 62nd minute and in
spectactular fashion with Shelton unleashing a thundering
free-kick which flew into the top corner of Howard's goal.
Three teams from CONCACAF's North and Central America and
Caribbean region qualify automatically for the 2014 World Cup
finals in Brazil.
The fourth-placed team from the last phase
also has a chance to qualify if they win a play-off against the
winner of Oceania's qualifying.
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