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Soca Warriors advance after 2-2 draw with Guatemala
Seattle Sounders winger Joevin Jones scored a goal in each half as a very flat and lethargic Soca Warriors battled to a 2-2 draw with Guatemala in their penultimate 2018 Concacaf World Cup Group C Semifinal Round qualifier at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, last night to advance to the final round of six teams.
With USA hammering St Vincent and The Grenadines 6-0 in Arnos Vale earlier yesterday to join the Stephen Hart-coached T&T at the top of the table with ten points, but from a match more, the Kenwyne Jones local squad backed by a sea of red clad supporters only needed a draw against the Central Americans to advance, while the visitors needed nothing less than victory.
However, apart from an early chance for Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino, inside the first minute , T&T never got into stride against a slick passing Guatemala and created the more dangerous chances.
First T&T goalkeeper Marvin Phillip was forced to tip over a fierce left footed free-kick from Jean Marquez in the 13th minute after y36-year-old Carlos Ruiz won a free-kick and then in the 25th minute Phillip had to tip over a dipping long range effort from Marco Papa, after a weak headed clearance by captain Jones.
Guatemala continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges and after firing just wide of the mark from a free-kick, Ruiz turned up at the far post to slide in the go-ahead goal from a right sided cross by Papa.
T&T almost responded immediately by captain Jones header from a Cordell Cato right sided chip pass was directed straight at goalkeeper Jose Garcia.
However, on the stroke of half-time, Jones started a counter-attack and unleashed defender Daneil Cyrus, free down the right flank, who then centred for an onrushing Joevin Jones to slot home through the legs of the goalkeeper for a 1-1 half-time score.
On the resumption, T&T started much better with both Jones’ combining, before the out-of-sorts Sounders wingman put T&T ahead 2-1 with a gem of a strike with the outside of his favoured left boot into the far corner in the 62nd.
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