Reggae Boyz back in Gold Cup semifinals Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Amari’i Bell’s early second half goal was enough to push Jamaica past Guatemala 1-0 in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals on Sunday evening at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After missing out on the final four in the 2021 edition, the Reggae Boyz are back in the semifinals for the fourth time in five Gold Cup tournaments and will take on Mexico in the semifinals on Wednesday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The first chance went Guatemala’s way in the seventh minute when a Rubio Rubin effort off a Jamaica turnover was saved by goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Soon, though, Jamaica took over and began to control the tempo, penetrating deep into the Guatemalan defense and firing several probing efforts toward Guatemala goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen, including a blazing Michail Antonio shot that went wide in the 37th minute.

Jamaica’s efforts finally bore fruit early in the second half when a surgical pass from Demarai Gray into Bell capped a great collective build-up and the finish at the near post made it 1-0 to the Reggae Boyz.

It was up to Guatemala to respond and they nearly did in the 57th minute when Rubin slid a pass over to Carlos Mejia, whose right-footed shot was swallowed up by Blake.

Hagen was still needed to protect Guatemala from conceding a second goal and it took a reaction save to prevent Leon Bailey from doubling the advantage midway through the half.

Guatemala made one final push in search of an equaliser and Blake was called on to make his best save of the day in the 79th minute by soaring to his left to paw away a header from Alejandro Galindo off a cross from Mejia.

There was also a free kick that was curled in and took a deflection off a Jamaican head, forcing Blake to go low to make a stop.

In the end, though, the Jamaican defense got the job done to nail down the victory and passage to Wednesday’s semifinal date with Mexico.