Guyana’s Lady Jags last evening booked their spot in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifier next year, when they defeated the Reggae Girls 2 -1 compliments of goals from Mariam El Masri and second half substitute Brittany Persuad.
This is the second time the Guyanese women have qualified for a major CONCACAF tournament; surpassing their men’s counterparts.
They lost to Puerto Rico 1- 0 on Wednesday at the same venue and were in a situation they had to win yesterday’s game. The Guyana Lady Jags regrouped and rebounded to put on another mesmerizing performance at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. Jamaica were beaten by Trinidad (2 -1) in their game, also played on Wednesday.
The Guyanese lasses were dominant in the 90 minutes of play. Head Coach Mark Rodrigues made one change to his starting lineup, brining in Otesha Charles for Brittany Persuad.
Chante Sandford (GK), Alison Heydorn, Briana DeSouza, Kayla DeSouza, Justine Rodrigues, Ashley Rodrigues, Ashlee Savona, Olivia Gonsalves, Mariam El Masri and Julia Gonsalves were the other starters.
Charles made several promising runs on goal and took advantage of Jamaica’s untidy defence. She came close to putting Guyana in the lead early when she received a through ball from Ashlee Savona but was given a yellow card after colliding with the advancing keeper (Taylor Grant).
Guyana’s defence stood firm against Jamaica’s Vanica Reid and Tashana Vincent.
Skipper Ashley Rodrigues made a nice run, cut between two defenders and her shot which was well placed, beat the Jamaican Goalkeeper but came off the goal post.
However, Vincent, in the 43rd minute, put the Jamaicans up 1 – 0, thanks to a breakdown in communication by the Guyanese defence.
But like true Jaguars, in the second half Guyana equalized in the 48th minute, with a beautiful goal from El Masri.
Charles had broken away on a counter but the Jamaican defence recovered. Charles made a pass to Savona who found El Masri. Her thunderous right footed shot was hit so hard the keeper had no chance.
Guyana kept the pressure until Persuad scored from point-blank range.
It was the game winner by the substitute and it sparked wild celebrations on the sideline and even in the stands since Guyana were by far the crowd favourite.
With the win, Guyana now join USA, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Guatemala to see which two countries will represent CONCACAF at the Olympic Games in Rio.
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