Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz struggled to an unimpressive 2-0 win over Aruba, ranked at number 195 in the world, in their third match of the Concacaf Nations League Group C of League B fixture at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.
The victory, however, stretched Jamaica’s perfect record to three straight victories and kept them atop of the group with maximum of nine points.
The Reggae Boyz, who are ranked at number 47 in the world, had previously crushed Antigua and Barbuda 6-0 at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay, before beating Guyana 4-0 away.
The defeat kept Aruba at the bottom of the four-team standing without a point.
The Reggae Boyz looked on course for another big victory after Devon Williams handed them a 13th-minute lead. However, that was not the case as the Reggae Boyz, watched by 4,500 spectators at the venue, could only increase the lead on the stroke of full time after Shamar Nicholson was set up by a Lamar Walker’s through pass.
Nicholson, who had kicked a penalty very high over the crossbar in the 75th minute, spared his blushes in the dying moments of the match to wrap up the victory.
The penalty kick earlier was awarded following a challenge on substitute Javon East inside the box.
The teams will meet again in Curacao on Tuesday at 6:00 pm (Jamaica time), in the home and away tie.
Results in the Group stage will play a critical role in the placements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification games.
On July 10, Concacaf announced a restructured qualifying format for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Concacaf said that only the top six nations in the June 2020 rankings will compete for the region’s direct World Cup berths. The rest will play to determine which nation meets the number four team in the hexagonal in a home-and-home playoff for the right to meet a nation from another region in another home-and-home playoff for a World Cup berth.
Each team in the hexagonal plays 10 qualifiers, which will take place in September, October and November 2020, and in March and September 2021 — ending 14 months before the 32-nation tournament in Qatar begins in November 2022.