Jahmari Clarke scored a late penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw for Jamaica against Costa Rica on matchday one of the 2022 Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship in Honduras on Saturday.
Dorian Rodriguez put the Ticos out in front 1-0 in the 58th minute with a well-placed header in the Group H fixture at the Estadio Morazan in San Pedro Sula.
Jamaica looked set to get back on even terms in the 74th minute when they had a penalty kick, but Costa Rica goalkeeper Bayron Mora came up with a massive diving save to keep the Costa Rica lead intact.
Just when it looked like Costa Rica would come away with the three points, Jamaica struck late into second-half stoppage time, with Clarke calmly converting a penalty in the 90+8 minute to prevent defeat for the Reggae Boyz.
Jamaica’s remaining group games are against host nation Honduras (Monday, June 20) and Antigua and Barbuda (Wednesday, June 22).
There were three other matches on the opening day with the United States, Cuba, and host nation Honduras all collecting victories.
USA 10 Saint Kitts and Nevis 0
The day started in Group E at the Estadio Nacional in Tegucigalpa where the USA posted a 10-0 victory against Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Seven different players found the back of the net for the reigning Concacaf Men’s Under-20 champions, including Nikolas Tsakiris (45+8′, 70′) and Paxten Aaronson (64′, 68′), who each scored a brace.
Also adding their names to the scoresheet were Cade Cowell (18′), Caden Clark (32′), Tyler Wolff (44′), Rokas Pukstas (45+1′), Mauricio Cuevas (45+3′), along with an own goal from Jermaine Chiuta (48′).
Cuba 1 Canada 0
The other match in Group E was a much tighter affair, as a late first half goal from Cuba proved enough to down Canada, 1-0.
Kevin Martin was the hero for the Caribbean side when he pounced on a lightly hit back-pass from the Canadian defense and scored to give Cuba the three points.
Honduras 3 Antigua and Barbuda 0
The night ended with host nation Honduras capturing a 3-0 victory over Antigua and Barbuda.
Aaron Zuniga broke the deadlock in the 31st minute before Jefryn Macias doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the 71st minute.
Marco Aceituno then completed the 3-0 scoreline with a penalty conversion in the 84th minute to seal the victory.
The Group Stage is being contested by the top-ranked 16 teams (according to the Concacaf Men’s U-20 Ranking).
After Group Stage play (June 18-23) the top three teams in each of the groups will advance to the Round of 16, joining the four Qualifiers winners (matches took place in November 2021).
The 16-team Knockout Stage will begin with the Round of 16 (June 25-26), followed by the Quarterfinals (June 28-29), Semifinals (July 1), and Final (July 3).
All Knockout Stage matches will be played in a single-match elimination format, with the semifinalist (four teams) qualifying for the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023 and the finalists (two teams) for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games.