Leeds United’s Rodolph Austin captained Jamaica to back-to-back wins in the Caribbean Cup, as the Reggae Boyz booked their place in the final today, Tuesday.
The midfielder was instrumental in securing a final berth, scoring in Friday’s 3-0 victory over Antigua and Barbuda before exciting once more in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat of Haiti.
The 29-year-old started the weekend brightly at the Montego Bay Sports Complex by scoring and assisting to help Jamaica record their first three points of the competition.
Austin played a pivotal part in opening the scoring against Antigua and Barbuda when firing a low free kick into Kemar Lawrence’s path to open the scoring midway through the first half. Austin later added his own name to the score-sheet when scoring a header with just five minutes remaining.
Austin – who has also captained United in the past – followed up that performance with another stellar outing against Haiti on Sunday, assisting Darren Mattocks for the second goal before being substituted four minutes from time as Jamaica secured their place in today’s final against Trinidad and Tobago.
Elsewhere, young striker Eoghan Stokes recorded another two goals for the Republic of Ireland’s under-19s squad, taking his goal tally to five goals in as many games for his country.
Stokes had already scored the winner in Ireland’s victory over Malta last Thursday and the 18-year-old’s brace in Saturday’s 4-1 European Championship qualifying win over Gibraltar leaves Ireland in a strong position to qualify in top spot ahead of their last Group Six game against Switzerland today.
The forward netted his first just after the half-hour mark with a close range attempt, before a stunning second-half effort from 25 yards finished the scoring for Ireland. Stokes was later substituted, likely in preparation for the match against Switzerland.
The success United’s players have enjoyed on international duty is likely to please manager Neil Redfearn, who has enjoyed a beneficial week on the training field with his squad.
United appeared to be building momentum in the run-up to the international break after a first-half barrage of goals saw them defeat Blackpool 3-1 at Elland Road last weekend.
Leeds travel to Blackburn Rovers next in the Championship and although their momentum has somewhat stalled thanks to the international fixtures, Redfearn revealed that the week has allowed him chance to instil more of his methods within the side.
“It was a good week for us,” said Redfearn, when speaking to the club’s official website. “We worked hard on the training ground – we’re starting to put the things in place that we want to put in.”
“The lads have really taken it on board well. I think the good thing is that it’s given us chance to settle things down.”
Redfearn also revealed that Tommaso Bianchi is likely to be fit for the trip to Blackburn on Saturday.
The midfielder has featured prominently in the side since joining the club from Sassuolo during the summer but an injury sustained during the Blackpool game forced him off the field, leading to concerns over the 26-year-old’s availability for the weekend’s trip to Blackburn.
Redfearn however, moved to quell any suggestions that Bianchi won’t be ready for the weekend’s fixture, saying: “He’s been back training again; it was just a whack on his shin. He’s back in full training again so it’s not a problem.”
The Whites travel to Blackburn in 15th position in the Championship although victory could see them climb to 13th, should results across the weekend’s fixtures go their way.