Costa Rica, Jamaica battle to draw

Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup match between Costa Rica and Jamaica (yellow jersey) on July 8, 2015, in Carson, California. (Photo: Mexsport)

CARSON, California – Jobi McAnuff’s brilliant solo goal early in the second half helped Jamaica rescue a point as the Reggae Boyz held Costa Rica to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining Group B opener of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Wednesday.

Trailing 2-1 at halftime, Jamaica rebounded through McAnuff, who produced a fine 48th minute effort to earn a point for his side in the first game of a doubleheader at the StubHub Center. El Salvador and Canada were to meet later in the night.

The Jamaicans took the lead in the 13th minute through Garath McCleary’s goal. Costa Rica rebounded through first-half scores from Roy Miller and David Ramirez.

In a clash of the reigning Central American and Caribbean champions, the Ticos started the brighter of the two with Ramirez and Joel Campbell making threatening runs into the box.

A slick one-two passing move between both players ended with Ramirez flicking his shot directly at goalkeeper Dwayne Miller in the sixth minute.

A minute later, Campbell found himself on the end of a long ball as his resulting drive was easily handled again by Miller.

Against the run of play, Jamaica took the lead. A long throw-in by Kemar Lawrence was misjudged by Junior Diaz and the ball fell to McCleary, who was unmarked in the box. The Reading FC forward slotted into the top right-hand corner.

Jamaica’s lead lasted 20 minutes before Costa Rica scored twice in the space of four minutes.

Defender Wes Morgan brought down Ruiz about five yards outside the penalty area and the Costa Rica captain played the resulting free kick low and from left to right across the top of the box. Ramirez then chipped the ball diagonally for Roy Miller to head home from six-yards out in the 33rd minute.

Four minutes later, Celso Borges fired a long ball from near midfield, which caught the Jamaica defense napping. Ramirez found himself free to chip the advancing goalkeeper.

The Reggae Boyz equalized three minutes after the break. McAnuff collected the ball just inside his half, beat one defender and split another two, before poking his finish past goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado.

Costa Rica nearly found a way back in the 50th minute as Johan Venegas’ drive was palmed away by Dwayne Miller.

Both sides spurned chances as the game transformed into an open affair. Derby’s Simon Dawkins came closest to breaking the deadlock, when his powerful goal-bound volley was pushed away at the far post by Alvarado.

Jamaica will meet Canada in the first game of a doubleheader in Houston Saturday while Costa Rica faces El Salvador in the next match.