Guatemala downs Jamaica to remain unbeaten

Guatemala (pictured) celebrates after defeating host Jamaica in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship on January 11, 2015, in Kingston. (Photo: Mexsport)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Guatemala scored near the midway point of the first half to defeat host Jamaica 1-0 in a CONCACAF Under-20 Championship game on Sunday at the National Stadium. 

The result left the Guatemalans level with Trinidad & Tobago on four points each after two games, good enough for second place in Group A.  Panama (2-0-0, 6 points) maintained its place atop the table on the strength of a 1-0 win over the United States (0-1-1, 1 point) earlier in the evening.

In a match that did not lack for effort on the part of either side, Guatemala netted the lone goal in the 27th minute.  Mauro Portillo played a long ball down the right side in the direction of Stheven Robles.  The 19-year-old Comunicaciones forward brilliantly chipped the ball over one defender and held off another in the box to power a right-footed effort into the net at the near post. 

Following the break, Portillo had an opportunity to double the advantage, but his 52nd minute penalty kick – after Jamaica was whistled for a handball in the box off Mauricio Maltes’ left-sided corner – was smothered by goalkeeper Nicholas Nelson.

The Central Americans continued to pour on the pressure.  Nelson somehow saved Mario Hernandez’s header from point-blank range in the 64th minute.  Ten minutes later, Portillo blazed over the crossbar and then Hernandez sailed high. 

Guatemala returns to action on Wednesday against Trinidad, while Jamaica will look to get on track against Panama later that same day.