Sun, Jul 12, 2009 - Page 18 News List

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


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.


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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