The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica shocked fans in Mexico City and pulled off a 0-0 draw against Mexico on Wednesday after being held scoreless in five previous World Cup matches in Azteca stadium.
“We knew that we could pull it off, we knew we can play,” Jamaica assistant coach Alfredo Montesso said to The Associated Press after the game. “Perhaps it’s a surprise for many, but not for us. Before this round, we were told that we had a 17 percent chance to qualify for the World Cup. I think we just improved those odds today.”
Mexico dominated the opening possession of the game, but Jamaica did not back down and returned their intensity. The Reggae Boyz saw their first opportunity to score come in the eighth minute of play.
Jermaine Johnson was able to steal a possession from Mexico and move the ball to Garath McCleary. McCleary then passed the ball to Jamaican captain Jobi McAnuff, who kicked the ball to the right of Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Corona, only to see the ball hit the right upright. McAnuff was able to recover the rebound, but Corona miraculously managed to block McAnuff’s second attempt.
Donovan Ricketts, the Jamaican goalkeeper, was also tested by Mexico. He came up big blocking Javier Hernandez twice, one of which came in stoppage time.
In the second half Jamaica made more attempts to steal the game from Mexico. Ryan Johnson had several attempts to score, and Theo Robinson had a chance to win the game with 13 minutes left in regulation. He took on Corona head-to-head, but Corona came out victorious, denying Robinson’s shots.
Mexico is considered a heavy favorite to qualify for Brazil 2014 World Cup. The last time they have drawn at Azteca stadium was on November 9, 1997, against Costa Rica. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.
The 40,000 fans who attended the game at Azteca stadium booed the Mexican team for their performance.
Mexico manager Jose Manuel De la Torre said, “I don’t know if this is our worst game, but it’s the one that leaves me more upset, because it was a World Cup qualifier at home,” De la Torre said. “Sometimes you win ugly, but today we did not do even that.”
Jamaica earned a share of second place and is tied with Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica with one point each. Honduras sits atop the standings in the six-team group with three points. The United States sits in last place after losing 2-1 to Honduras on Wednesday.
Jamaica, which last made a World Cup appearance in France in 1998, will play on March 22 in Kingston against Panama.