El Salvador vs. Haiti: Final score 1-0, La Selecta win to book spot in quarters


Rodolfo Zelaya rebounded his own penalty for the goal that has El Salvador quarterfinals bound.

El Salvador were luckless for most of Monday night, but they got a bit of fortune just once and that was all they needed. Granted a soft penalty kick, El Salvador sent Rodolfo Zelaya to the spot, whose kick was saved, but bounced right back to him to knock home for a 1-0 win that puts La Selecta through to the Gold Cup quarterfinals.

La Selecta were excellent from the start, riding the phenomenal play of Rodolfo Zelaya, but they couldn't find a goal. Zelaya took advantage of a Frandy Montrevil error to give himself a chance at a wide open goal, but he hit it off the post. Later on, he hit the post again. Having concluded that his chances were just too easy and that is why he hit the post twice, Zelaya dribbled through four Haiti defenders before firing at goal from 20 yards, but even then he couldn't find the net as Montrevil made a good save to dent him.

It seemed like El Salvador, and Zelaya in particular would never get the goal they needed to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. Lady Luck has sided with Haiti, who would advance with just a draw, but finally, La Selecta caught a break.

In the 76th minute, the referee ruled that Jean-Marc Alexandre had pulled down Victor Turcios, who was looking to get on the end of a free kick. Replays showed it to be a very harsh call and one that Turcios made the most of, but after so much bad luck, it seemed only right that fortune would finally smile upon them. It did a second time when the save of Zelaya's penalty came right back to him, but El Salvador deserved a win for their superior play and got just that when Zelaya buried the rebound.

With the win, El Salvador is on four points, which is good for second place. Trinidad and Tobago is on one point, but could leap past El Salvador with a two-goal win over Honduras, but even then, La Selecta is guaranteed to be one of the best third place teams so they are through. Haiti can still go through if Trinidad and Tobago lose or draw, while a Soca Warriors win will end their tournament.

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