Sun, Jul 12, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Canada draw with Costa Rica to grab top spot in Group A

AP , MIAMI

Canada goalkeeper Greg Sutton, left, catches a cross from Costa Rica over teammate Marcel De Jong during their CONCACAF Gold Cup match in Miami on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Canada clinched top spot in their group at the CONCACAF Gold Cup by drawing 2-2 with Costa Rica on Friday.

The result gave Canada seven points in Group A, after prior wins over Jamaica and El Salvador, and they advanced to the quarter-finals.

Costa Rica, who finished on four points, also reached the last eight after Jamaica beat El Salvador 1-0 later on Friday.

“It was a well-played match,” Costa Rica coach Rodrigo Kenton said. “Congratulations to Canada.”

Costa Rica struck first through striker Andy Herron in the 22nd minute. Canada goalkeeper Greg Sutton sent a goal-kick upfield, where Costa Rica’s Armando Alonso headed it to an open Herron on the right wing. Herron dribbled unmarked into Canada’s penalty area, where he flicked a shot past the onrushing Sutton.

Canada responded with two goals in the next four minutes. Midfielder Patrice Bernier struck in the 23rd minute, receiving a Josh Simpson pass from the left and beating goalkeeper Ricardo Gonzalez with a shot from just outside the six-yard box.

Midfielder Marcel De Jong put Canada ahead in impressive style in the 27th minute. De Jong pounced on a loose ball, dribbled and blasted a shot from 25m that went inside the left post.

Costa Rica midfielder Walter Centeno equalized with a swerving free-kick above a wall of defenders seven minutes later.

Costa Rica twice came close to a late winner. In the 75th minute, Celso Borges’ shot was deflected wide by Canada defender Jaime Peter, stationed on a post.

“The guys played their hearts out,” Canada defender Andrew Hainault said. “We’re happy with the result. To come out first in the group, nobody expected us to do this.”

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