16-team CONCACAF Gold Cup line-up set

A glimpse of Guyana’s final qualifier match against Belize on Saturday last
A glimpse of Guyana’s final qualifier match against Belize on Saturday last

The CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers came to an end on Sunday with nine more teams sealing their fate, after Guyana had so done by staging their biggest win to date on Saturday evening at the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora, WCD.

The 16-team roster is now set in stone ahead of the lucrative 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Haiti, Canada, Martinique, Curacao, Bermuda, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, El Salvador and Nicaragua have finished in the top 10 of the 34-team table, and will join Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, United States and Trinidad and Tobago in this summer’s tournament.

The day started on a historic note, with Bonaire earning their first win since 2014 with a dramatic 2-1 home triumph over British Virgin Islands. Jermaine Windster gave Bonaire the lead in the 7th minute, only for Jamie Wilson to pull level in the 76th. Windster later rose to the occasion and scored a dramatic winner in the 88th minute to earn Bonaire the three points.

Up next was Grenada, who travelled to Puerto Rico and got the best of the Boricuas 2-0, thanks to goals from Antonio German in the 27th and Arthur Paterson in the 74th.

Things took an interesting turn in the third match of the day, when Bermuda took down hosts Dominican Republic 3-1 in a winner-take-all affair in which the victor would punch their Gold Cup ticket.

The home side had a dream start with an Enmy Pena goal in the 3rd minute, but Bermuda showed their character by scoring three unanswered goals through Zeiko Lewis (15th), Nahki Wells (64th) and Justin Donawa (74th) to clinch Bermuda’s first ever Gold Cup appearance.

Canada was back, flexing its scoring muscles in a 4-1 home win over French Guiana. Junior Hoilette got things going in the 11th minute, but French Guiana did not back down, and pulled level after a Kevin Rimane goal in the 26th minute.

The final hour of play, however, belonged to Canada, who got scores from Lucas Cavallini in the 39th and 51st minutes and Jonathan David in the 41st, to finish second in the table.

In a battle of teams that clinched Gold Cup berths, hosts Haiti edged Cuba 2-1, thanks to a late goal. Duckens Nazon scored his sixth goal of CNLQ to make it 1-0 to Haiti in the 26th minute, but Cuba responded in the 61st minute through Luis Paradela.

Just when it looked like things would end in a draw, Kevin LaFrance scored in the 87th minute to give Haiti the three points and first-place finish in the table.

The night ended with a thrilling finish that saw Nicaragua punch the last Gold Cup ticket with a 1-0 win over Barbados, courtesy of a Juan Barrera goal in the 65th minute.

The 2019 Gold Cup will be the biggest-ever edition of the event, with more participating nations (16, up from 12 in 2017), and more host countries (three, including first-time matches in Costa Rica and a yet-to-be-named Caribbean nation).

Meanwhile, the group drawing for the Gold Cup will be hosted on 10 April 2019 in Los Angeles, California, United States.

Guyana stormed their way into the Gold Cup for the first time ever last Saturday night, after defeating Belize by a 2-1 margin.



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