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Mexico, Haiti, Trinidad Win on Day 2 of 2023 Gold Cup
Mexico had a resurgent performance, Haiti grabbed a last minute win, and Trinidad leads Group A after their first match.
Both Group A and B’s first set of group stage matches are complete after a triple-header on the second day of the 2023 Gold Cup.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 3, SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS 0
Alvin Jones broke the deadlock just before halftime when he chested down a pinpoint cross in the 43rd minute from Neveal Hackshaw in the box and finished first time past a sprawling Julani Archibald in the Saint Kitts net.
Just past the hour mark, it was Ajani Fortune solo effort down the middle in the 65th that doubled the Soca Warriors lead with a blast from just outside the area after skipping through at SKN defense. Hackshaw was credited with his second assist after a simple feed in the midfield.
Malcolm Shaw thought he had T&T’s third but his headed effort in the 70th was ruled out for a push against his defender. The Sugar Boyz day went from bad to worse, as defender Jameel Ible turned in a Levi Garcia centering pass he knew little about for the final tally of the day.
Saint Kitts were not incapable on the day however, but were let down by a 1-for-10 shooting day. T&T capitalized better on their chances, with a 4-of-14 shooting performance and nearly two thirds possession to jump into the Group A lead.
HAITI 2, QATAR 1
Qatar capitalized on a strong start and benefitted from a brief moment of calamity in the Haiti box for their opener. In the 20th minute, a cross inteneded for striker Mohammad Muntari was partially cleared by Haitian keeper Alexandre Pierre. In the ensuing scramble near the top of the box, Pierre saved a follow up shot from Mostafa Tarek before Yusuf Abdurisag curled in the loose ball into the far post of an empty net.
Qatar nearly doubled their lead in the 35th minute, when Homam Ahmed fired a deflected set piece cross onto the bar and out of play. Haiti however would equalize from the spot in first half stoppage time, Tarek Salman judged to have handled a cross and Duckens Nazon tucked home the spot kick.
A wild back and forth second half proceeded with both teams having good chances, Haiti a close range free kick just after halftime fell into the comfortable hands of Qatari keeper Meeshal Barsham. Yusuf Abdurisag rifled a shot off the post in the 76th but had his chance nulled by an offside flag.
Les Grenadieres stole the match deep into stoppage time when Carnejy Antoine waved off Frantzdy Pierrot from a passive offside position and latched on to a long ball. Pierrot adjusted his run, got back onside and goalside of his defender to tuck home Antoine’s centering pass.
Qatar now faces an uphill road into the knockouts and will almost certainly need a result against Mexico to advance. Haiti can now challenge for the group title with a result against Mexico in their next match.
MEXICO 4, HONDURAS 0
Mexico scored in the first minute and ran away from Honduras in their first group match in a much needed rebound preformance from their third place finish at the Nations League Finals.
Luis Romo smashed a long range effort from the top of the box in the first minute into the far corner after Honduras never fully cleared their lines then doubled the El Tri lead with a close range header in the 23rd after a corner kick.
Oberlin Peneda tallied the third minutes after the halftime restart, dancing his way to the top of the box before a cracking finish in to the bottom corner in the 52nd. Luis Chavez capitalized in the 64th, first timing a deflected centering pass that was blocked by Honduras but fell right to him wide open in the middle of the box for a near post finish.
The scoreline does not flatter Honduras, who had a late first half flurry of chances all blocked by Mexico but could only muster a meager 1-of-6 shooting day overall. Former Revs striker Jerry Bengston subbed in for Honduras at the hour mark.
Trinidad’s three points take them to the top of Group A ahead of the USA and Jamaica on one point following their draw. The Soca Warriors play Jamaica on Wednesday June 28th at 730pm in the first match followed by USA-Saint Kitts in the nightcap, both games at City Park in Saint Louis.
Mexico and Haiti will vie for the Group B lead on Thursday in the nightcap at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. Qatar and Honduras will kickoff the double header at 745pm.