Jamaica shocked Canada 3-2 on Tuesday to reach the semifinals of the North, Central American and Caribbean Nations League (CONCACAF) and secure its place in next year’s expanded Copa America tournament in the United States.
Two second-half goals from Shamar Nicholson and a late penalty from Bobby Reid gave the Reggae Boyz a stunning upset in the second leg at BMO Field in Toronto to send the Jamaicans through to qualifying on away goals after the encounter ended 4-4 on aggregate.
Canada, which won the first leg 2-1 in Kingston on Saturday, appeared to be headed toward the semifinals after Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies put the team ahead 1-0 after 25 minutes to extend the overall lead to 3-1. .
But Jamaica responded with Nicholson’s shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-1 after 62 minutes. Four minutes later, he equalized the aggregate when he scored a goal from close range.
There were more dramatic moments later when Ismael Koné scored the equalizer on a header to put the Canadiens back in front on aggregate.
Canada’s relief was short-lived. In the 75th minute, Steven Eustaquio was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area and Reid calmly stepped up to convert the penalty kick that sent Jamaica into the semi-finals.
Jamaica endured a nervy finish down to ten men after Demarie Gray was sent off in the 84th minute, but the Reggae Boyz held on to advance.
In Tuesday’s other Nations League quarter-final, Mexico completed their improbable comeback to book their place in the semi-finals, beating Honduras 4-2 on penalties at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca.
Mexico, which was 2-0 down after losing the first leg last week, appeared to be on its way out of the tournament after failing to add a new goal scored by Luis Chavez in the 43rd minute as normal time expired.
But in the 11th minute of extra time, Edson Alvarez scored the equalizer 2-0, qualifying 2-2 on aggregate, counting extra time and penalty kicks.