Costa Rica and Haiti clinched spots in the 2019 Gold Cup knockout stages with a 2-1 win over Bermuda and 2-0 win over Nicaragua respectively. The two teams will decide who advances as the group winner on Monday, June 24th at Red Bull Arena when they face off in their last matches of the group.
Haiti scored twice in the first half in quick succession off of two heavy deflections. The first goal came from Steeven Saba in the 22nd minute when his long range shot glanced off a defender and tucked into the near post corner. Ten minutes later New York Red Bulls attacker Derrick Etienne added a second, when his shot caromed off Nicaraguan defender Manuel Rosas it was ruled an own goal.
HAITI MAKE IT ✌️— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 20, 2019
Derrick Etienne's shot deflects off of Rosas and doubles Haitis lead! pic.twitter.com/DvXODCDBJ9
If it weren’t for bad luck, Nicaragua would have no luck at all, as the they were unable to come back from the 2-0 lead despite dominating possession, particularly in the second half. Haiti was content to sit back and defend their lead as captain and keeper Johnny Placide recorded three saves off Nicaragua’s 11 total shots in the win.
In the second game at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX, Costa Rica jumped out to a two goal lead and held on to defeat Bermuda 2-1.
Costa Rica nearly opened the scoring via an own goal, as a cross from Joel Campbell into the box was redirected by a defender and Bermuda keeper Dale Eve had to parry the effort away. At the half hour mark however, Costa Rica would find the breakthrough as Mayron George slammed home a rebound from the middle of the box following a corner. Eve made the initial save but could only parry the ball as far as the penalty spot, and George crushed his shot through traffic past Eve.
Costa Rica doubled their lead after the break, when Elias Aguilar’s shot from a wide part of the box eluded Eve at the far post and tucked into the side netting in the 54th. Bermuda was given a lifeline five minutes later, when Celso Borges fouled Oliver Harvey inside the box and Nahki Wells dispatched the ensuing penalty to make it 2-1.
Despite the heroics of Dale Eve and his seven saves and the Bermuda defense, which registered a staggering 31 clearances on the night, Bermuda was unable to find an equalizer as they suffered their second straight 2-1 defeat in their Gold Cup debut.
Costa Rica can clinch the top spot of the group with a draw in their final game against Haiti, while Les Grenadiers will also advance into the knockout stages, only a win can give them top spot in the group. The team that finishes second in the group will likely go up against Group A winner Mexico.
Bermuda and Nicaragua will also close out their group stage against each other as both nations look for their first point in the modern Gold Cup era.