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Jamaica, Honduras advance
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 06 - 2011

Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller deflects a free kick shot by Honduras defender Victor Bernardez during their CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament game in Harrison, NJ, Monday. (AP)HARRISON, New Jersey: Jamaica, Honduras and Guatemala finished the Gold Cup group stage Monday claiming three of the eight available quarterfinals berths.
Ryan Johnson scored a lucky first-half goal that bounced off the keeper's head as Jamaica defeated Honduras 1-0 to top Group B.
The 58th-ranked Jamaica won all three of its group matches and will now play the second-place finisher in Group C — possibly the United States — Sunday.
Honduras, which also advances as the group's second-placed team, plays Costa Rica Saturday.
Both teams were assured of quarterfinals berths before the kickoff, while Guatemala beat Grenada 4-0 to reach its first Gold Cup quarterfinals since 2007 as one of the best performed third-placed teams of the group stage. It will learn its opponent after Group C wraps up Tuesday.
Johnson got the winner for Jamaica in the 36th minute after cutting across the middle of the Honduran defense. He fired a shot off the crossbar from roughly 28 yards (meters) and the ball bounced down and struck the back of Noel Valladares' head and went into the net.
Valladares, Honduras' keeper at the World Cup, got a measure of revenge in the 72nd minute when he made a diving stop on a penalty kick by Johnson. Play was delayed for a couple of minutes before the attempt because angry Honduran fans in the sellout crowd of 25,000 at Red Bull Arena littered the field with glass and plastic bottles after the referee awarded the penalty.
Marco Pappa scored one goal and set up another for Guatemala, while Jose Del Aguila, Carlos Ruiz and Carlos Gallardo also scored. “More than anything, this was a psychological and mental game,” Guatemala coach Ever Hugo Almeida said. “We had to score a specific number of goals. We needed three goals, but we had to take it goal by goal. We were able to manage the game and get the result we wanted.”
Guatemala lost 3-0 to Canada in its previous appearance in the Gold Cup quarterfinals. Grenada finished last in Group B, losing all three of its games by a combined score of 15-1. It has been outscored 25-1 in two Gold Cup competitions.

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