Jamaica maintains Montego Bay form, tops Venezuela

(ABOVE) Action from the international friendly between Venezuela and host Jamaica (yellow jersey) on March 27, 2015, in Montego Bay.

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Jamaica rallied to earn a 2-1 win over visiting Venezuela in an international friendly on Friday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

It was the Reggae Boyz’s first game since winning the Caribbean Cup title on November 18, 2014, overcoming Trinidad & Tobago on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw in the final at the same venue.

The South Americans took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute, when Gabriel Cichero’s effort 30-yards out sailed over the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr and under the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Jamaica was on level terms as forward Giles Barnes, making his international debut, beat Venezuela goalkeeper Dani Hernandez with a right-footed rocket from 23 yards.

Darren Mattocks, one of the Caribbean Cup’s standout performers, struck for the game-winner in the 59th minute.  The Vancouver Whitecaps forward, 24, burst into the Venezuela penalty area and from 10 yards tucked a right-footed shot inside the left post for his seventh career goal.

Jamaica will remain in Montego Bay and return to action on Monday against neighboring Cuba.