The Reggae Boyz tackled Caribbean neighbour Haiti as they looked to take pole position in Group A with a win after clipping Honduras 1-0 in their group opener. As a result of a below-par performance by the Jamaican team against the Central American team, compared to what many fans had expected, the Jamaican team was also looking to impress their home fans.
On Tuesday, it was the Haitians who started the game with something to prove as they raced into a 12-minute lead after Deedson outbattled Lowe for a bouncing ball, broke free into the penalty area, and slotted home a well-placed shot to beat Blake.
Three minutes later, the Reggae Boyz and the home fans were stunned again following more questionable defending from the Reggae Boyz as Haiti capitalized on the opportunity to secure a 2-0 lead with just under 15 minutes on the clock courtesy of Deedson with his second on the night.
Despite dominating possession, the Reggae Boyz failed to carve out many clear opportunities to grab a goal back to launch a comeback. Jamaica threw everything at the Haitian team in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Nicholson had a great chance from about 6yards out, but some persistent pressuring from two Haitian defenders was enough to force him to blast his shot over the bar. Jamaica’s much talked about attackers, Bailey and Gray, also failed to impress as they couldn’t find the final touches to half the deficit.
However, the Reggae Boy ramped up their attacking activity in the second half, which paid off early after Gray’s cross was unintentionally scored by a Haitian defender to put his team on the score sheet in the 51st minute.
The constant attacking by Reggae Boyz reaped another reward as they were awarded a penalty for a controversial handball call by the referee. Fulham’s winger Reid, then stepped up to cooly finish to grab a well-deserved equalizer for his team.
Haiti’s goalkeeper had a lot of work to do, but he weathered the Jamaican storm late in the second half to ensure his team left Kingston with a point as the match finished 2-2.
See Jamaica’s late equalizer below: