Cuba needed a four-goal win over Belize on Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals, which meant they were all but dead and buried. Only nobody told them that they had no chance so they went out and pulled off a remarkable 4-0 win, capped by a stoppage time capper, to book their spot in the Gold Cup knockout stages.
Ariel Martinez was the star of the match, giving Belize fits from the very start. He was everywhere, creating chances for others and testing Disovelis Guerra himself with regularity to grab the match by the throat.
After a slew of near-misses Martinez finally broke through in the 38th minute, but he didn't stop there. He added goals in the 63rd minute and one more in the 84th minute. The impossible dream was within reach for Cuba, but they still needed one more goal.
In stoppage time, they got it. A ball across found Yenier Marquez, who settled and fired home to send Cuba to the quarterfinals. Replays showed that Marquez was offside, but minutes earlier Cuba has a good goal incorrectly waved off for offside so in the end they got the goal and result they deserved.
Belize's first Gold Cup is over, while Cuba will take on Panama in the quarterfinals.