Jamaica and Mexico vie for Gold Cup honours

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Jamaica and Mexico vie for Gold Cup honours
Jamaica's Joel McAnuff (10) heads the ball in front of United States' Gyasi Zardes (20) during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer semifinal in Atlanta.

Winfried Schaefer's men target title in their first ever final


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Published: Sun 26 Jul 2015, 5:28 PM

Philadelphia - Jamaica's "Reggae Boyz" have already made history as they enter Sunday's Gold Cup final against an underperforming Mexico side with much to explain even if it takes the trophy.
The Jamaicans became the first Caribbean team to reach the championship match of the biennial North American regional football tournament by stunning the United States 2-1 in the semifinals.
"We've just put one of the big boys out, so it just shows that we can hang with the best right now," Jamaican striker Giles Barnes said. "That's our confidence builder going into the final.
"We don't fear anybody."
Mexico, meanwhile, has needed controversial foul calls to set up late penalty kick goals to barely escape Costa Rica in the quarterfinals and Panama in the semifinals, with both extra-time losers having asked organisers for a formal investigation into "officiating irregularities."
"It disgraces the tournament," Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez said. "The final loses beauty and spectacle."
Costa Rican officials went so far as to ask that the entire referees technical committee be removed and South American referees be used when the penultimate round of Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) begins in November.
"The referee was very bad," Mexican coach Miguel Herrera said. "But this happens. Sometimes there is controversy. It's not our doing." Nevertheless, El Tricolores will be favoured to beat Jamaica and stretch their record trophy total to seven. "Mexico is one of the best teams in our region. They play fantastic football," Schaefer said. Mexico escaped the quarterfinal 1-0 after captain Andres Guardado converted a penalty beyond the 120th minute on a foul called for what appeared to be a Mexican player hurling himself to the pitch.
After playing a man down for 64 minutes, Panama led Mexico 1-0 in the semifinal only to see a penalty shot awarded Mexico in the 89th minute, one the sparked a melee as players and coaches on both sides nearly came to blows. A penalty kick, off a foul all agreed was legitimate, came just beyond the 105th minute to send Mexico onward again.
With several CONCACAF officials among those facing US charges for bribery in a federal probe into Fifa, the sanctioning body's credibility had already taken a blow even before the latest sense by some that Mexico, and its huge set of supporters and viewers, were going to reach the final no matter what. - AFP

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