THE CONCACAF Gold Cup is guaranteed a Caribbean semi-finalist with Haiti and Jamaica locking horns in Baltimore in the early hours of Sunday. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his betting expertise.
Haiti v Jamaica | Sunday 01.00 | BT Sport 2
The Caribbean is set to represent the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a semi-finalist for the first time since 2007 next week with regional rivals Haiti and Jamaica facing-off in their quarter-final clash from Baltimore on Sunday morning.
With Jamaica, our outright fancies at 66/1, claiming Caribbean Cup honours last year and Les Grenadiers finishing third at the competition, the neighbours know each other well and we could be in for a tight tussle.
Confidence in the Reggae Boyz camp is high but preparations for this encounter have taken a hit in the past few days. Firstly, Houston Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor, FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson and and Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks were ruled out with a combination of injury and suspensions and now defender Alvas Powell has walked out on the squad due to a lack of playing time.
It’s left Jamaica boss Winfried Schäfer a little short in defence areas as they look to book their first ever Gold Cup semi-final place. It’s a great shame that their progress could be overshadowed but even so, there’s enough talent, nous and experience in the Reggae Boyz’s ranks to ensure they can be competitive in this quarter-final.
As we predicted, Jamaica topped Group B following a very impressive opening day 2-2 draw with Costa Rica before snatching a late win against Canada and edging out El Salvador. The Caribbean champions finished four points ahead of the highly-fancied Costa Ricans and only cemented our faith following the battling displays we saw at the Copa America.
Meanwhile, Haiti took second spot in a very competitive Group A to clinch their place in the last eight. Marc Collat’s team fought back from a goal down to pinch a point against Panama before going down 1-0 against the USA despite out-shooting the hosts 15-5 on matchday two. Les Grenadiers then surprised Honduras 1-0 thanks to Duckens Nazon’s goal to snatch second.
Throughout the competition Collat’s charges have showed real steel and strength in defensive areas with the capacity to hit teams on the break, making them a dangerous proposition. Still, progress to their third Gold Cup quarter-final appearance has surprised many and the Haitians will hope to go one better and capitalise on Jamaica’s selection problems.
Both nations know how to keep it tight and so we’re likely to see a hard-fought battle in Baltimore. The Jamaicans have seen five of their most recent six matches finish 1-0 and with 10 of Haiti’s last 17 internationals failing to clear the 2.5 goals barrier, it’s difficult to imagine this fixture featuring goals.
I’m going to keep things reasonably simple and follow the low-scoring theme by backing the half-time correct score to be 0-0 at 13/10 with Bwin (Paddy Power are next best at 5/4). It’s proven a winner in five of Haiti’s last eight competitive games as well as four of Jamaica’s last seven meaningful matches.
If you’re looking to avoid the skinny Total Goals markets you may also be interested in backing the 0-0 correct score at 11/2 with BetVictor along with the 1-0 Jamaica win (11/2 BetVictor) and the 1-0 Haiti victory (15/2 BetVictor) at much more appetising prices.
Haiti v Jamaica – 0-0 half-time correct score (13/10 Bwin)
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