Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Canada deny Mexicans with draw in Edmonton

AFP , EDMONTON, CANADA

Canada’s Ali Gerba, center, kicks the ball against Mexico in the first half of their World Cup qualifying match in Edmonton, Canada, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

Determined Canada denied Mexico the victory they needed to advance in 2010 World Cup qualifying on Wednesday, emerging with a 2-2 draw against one of the CONCACAF region’s powerhouses.

While Canada went into the match already eliminated from contention for the six-nation final round of qualifying in the North and Central American and Caribbean zone, Mexico took the field knowing that Group B rivals Jamaica were beating Honduras.

The Reggae Boyz duly claimed a 1-0 triumph in Kingston with a goal from Luton Shelton.

Meanwhile Mexico, despite rallying twice, couldn’t get the victory — setting up a three-way battle for two berths from Group B in the final round when the semi-finals conclude on Nov. 19.

Ali Gerba opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but it was 1-1 at half-time after Canadian Patrice Bernier deflected a free kick from Carlos Salcido into his own goal.

Tomazs Radzinski put Canada up again with a 49th-minute strike, before naturalized Argentinian Vicente Matias Vuoso again equalized for Mexico.

Salcido’s long pass found Giovani Dos Santos on the left, and his crisp cross was headed home by Vuoso for his first goal for his adopted country.

Canada still had the opportunity to win it late, as Paul Stalteri rattled a shot off the crossbar and Radzinski put one just wide.

The draw gave Group B leaders Mexico 10 points, followed by Honduras with nine and Jamaica with seven.

On Nov. 19, Jamaica host Canada and Mexico visit Honduras.

El Salvador joined Costa Rica in advancing from Group C with a 3-0 victory over Suriname, while Costa Rica extended their perfect record with a fifth victory in five matches — 2-0 over Haiti.

But suspense remained in Group A thanks to Trinidad and Tobago’s 2-1 win over the US and group straggler Cuba’s surprise 2-1 victory over contenders Guatemala.

Trinidad and Tobago’s hopes were buoyed by goals from veterans Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke.

Latapy, 40, opened the scoring in the 62nd minute and Yorke converted a penalty in the 79th.

Charlie Davis scored in the 75th for the US, who had already secured their place in the final round.

US coach Bob Bradley sent seven European-based starters back to their club teams after Saturday’s victory over Cuba, including goalkeeper Tim Howard of Everton, Clint Dempsey of Fulham and Carlos Bocanegra of Rennes.

“It was a hard-fought match. I thought both teams went after each other in a way that made it hard,” Bradley said. “In the second half, I thought we had a good response when we went down 1-0, and unfortunately, when the game is 1-1 and everything is to play for, we have a foul.”

“Certainly we have a lot of respect for Trinidad and Tobago. They have a lot of talented players, and we knew it was going to be a physical game. It was hard match and a physical match, with intensity on both sides,” he said.

With the victory Trinidad and Tobago took their points total to eight, while Guatemala remained on five.

The US host Guatemala on Nov. 19 while Trinidad and Tobago host Cuba.

The top two teams in each group advance to the final round of qualifying, from which three teams will advance to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. A fourth team will play off for a berth against a team from South America.

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