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The Toe Poke

Honduras beats rival El Salvador

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Jorge Claros scored in second-half stoppage time to give Honduras a 1-0 win Friday night over El Salvador and a spot in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

"The priority was to classify to the next phase, and it was achieved," Honduras coach Luis Suarez said. "A goal at the end makes it more a joyful occasion."

Edder Delgado's pass found an open Claros, who took a couple of steps inside the area and blasted a shot past goalkeeper Dagoberto Portillo. El Salvador players immediately disputed the goal with referee Jair Marrufo, insisting Claros was offside on the play.

"The officiating was not the determining factor of the result," El Salvador coach Agustin Castillo said.

Minutes earlier, Kevin Santamaria nearly gave El Salvador a late goal when he dribbled into the area and his left-footed shot bounced off the right post in the 87th minute. Haiti, which scored a 2-0 win over Trinidad Tobago earlier Friday, is second in the group with three points and a game against El Salvador remaining.

"This is very painful for us," Santamaria said. "We just have to put this loss behind us and look for an opportunity to qualify."

El Salvador, which has one point after two matches, will conclude its group phase against Haiti on Monday. Haiti currently is second in the group following a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago earlier Friday.

"We can't think of the next round until we evaluate our players for our third group match," Suarez said. "We have short turnaround time before we play again on Monday and need to see how our players are responding physically."

Haiti 2, Trinidad and Tobago 0

Jean Maurice scored twice to lead Haiti to victory Friday night.

The three points from the win temporarily lifted the Haitians to the top of Group B, though they fell to second after Honduras won later Friday. Haiti lost to Honduras on Sunday.

"Although the country has suffered, Haiti plays football with joy," Haiti coach Israel Blake Cantero said.

Haiti's speed on both wings resulted in repeated runs on goal in the first of two-matches Friday at Sun Life Stadium. Maurice's goal 16 minutes into the match gave Haiti a 1-0 lead as his shot near the 6-yard box beat Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan Williams.

"That first goal gave us a tremendous lift," Maurice said through a translator. "In the previous (Gold Cup) game, I didn't play as well because of an injury. Thankfully, I was able to score early and we were able to play with more confidence afterwards."

Maurice's first goal thrilled the pro-Haiti crowd that attended Friday's first game. Among those was Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who visited the Haiti locker room and congratulated Maurice after the game.

Maurice scored his second goal in the 52nd minute, when he retrieved a loose ball off Yves Desmaret's crossing pass and converted a shot into an open net.

Densil Theobald's header bounced off the left post in the 46th for Trinidad and Tobago's best scoring opportunity of the game.

Haiti overtook Trinidad and Tobago in the group with three points. Trinidad and Tobago, which tied El Salvador in its first group match, remained with one point.

"We go into the game as a team, and we didn't get the result as a team," Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart said.


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