Jamaica remained on course to qualify for the 2022 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup by defeating Cuba 4-0 in their Round of 16 fixture of the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.
Natoya Atkinson bagged a brace (2nd and 59th minutes), while Shaneil Buckley (53rd) and Dannique Wilson (73rd) tacked on scores to pace the Reggae Girlz to the victory and a quarter-final spot at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez.
Jamaica got to the Round of 16 stage following two victories and a draw at the preliminary round stage. The young Reggae Girlz began their campaign with a 7-0 victory over Bermuda on April 24, followed by a 3-1 victory against host nation the Dominican Republic on April 26 and then held Canada to a 1-1 draw on April 28.
Joining Jamaica in the quarter-finals are the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Canada.
In what is their first ever CWU17, the Dominican Republic advanced after posting a 2-0 win over neighbours Haiti at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal.
The decisive scores came shortly before halftime, with two goals in the span of three minutes.
Maria Torreira broke the deadlock in the 39th minute to make it 1-0 and Julia Jimenez scored in the 42nd minute to make the game safe for the Dominican Republic.
The first game of the day at the Estadio Panamericano saw El Salvador march to a commanding 10-0 win over Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Braces from Carolina Ayala (1st, 4th), Sarina Villa (77th, 82nd) and Karoline Velasquez (83rd, 87th) were accompanied by goals from Mia Arevalo (42nd), Cynthia Ramirez (44th), Victoria Sanchez (45+1) and Yaneth Sotelo (50th) for the Cuscatlecas.
Rosa Maalouf continued her impressive CWU17 campaign by scoring a hat trick to lead Canada to a 4-1 win versus Honduras at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo.
It was a rocky start for Canada, however, as Honduras grabbed a lead in the 28th minute through Susan Henriquez. But soon Canada countered through Maalouf, who scored her first of the day in the 34th minute to bring Canada level, 1-1. The second half then belonged to the North Americans with Maalouf scoring in the 49th and 82nd, followed by Amanda Allen in the 88th.
With her three goals on the day, Maalouf is the current top scorer in the tournament with nine goals.
The other four quarter-finalists are Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States who booked their spots on Saturday.
The two winners of the semifinal matches, plus the winner of the third-place game, will qualify for the 2022 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
The quarter-finals will start on Wednesday with Jamaica facing the USA and Mexico taking on the Dominican Republic.
The other two quarter-final matches are scheduled for Thursday. The games are Costa Rica vs Canada and Puerto Rico vs El Salvador.