Sun, Oct 14, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Johnson’s late goal lifts US to victory

EYES ON PRIZE:The US only need a draw on Tuesday to progress in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, while Honduras are now just a win away from the next round

AFP and Reuters, LOS ANGELES

Javier Hernandez of Mexico, right, and Charles Pollard of Guyana challenge for the ball during their 2014 World Cup qualifying match in Houston, Texas, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

Eddie Johnson scored two goals, including the game-winner in the 90th minute, to lift the US to a 2-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda in CONCACAF World Cup semi-final qualifying on Friday.

Mexico, already assured of a berth in next year’s final round, kept their perfect record intact as they scored all their goals in the second half to rout Guyana 5-0 in another qualifier.

With their victory, the Americans moved into a tie with Guatemala for first place in Group A with 10 points and control their own destiny entering their last semi-final round match on Tuesday against Guatemala in Kansas City.

The US are guaranteed to advance with a win or a draw against Guatemala and could potentially advance even if they lose.

The Americans appeared to be heading to a surprise draw with winless Antigua before Johnson’s heroics at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Johnson scored his first goal in the 20th minute, heading home a cross from Graham Zusi.

Antigua equalized just five minutes later with Peter Byers driving into the area on the right and then sending the ball to Dexter Blackstock, who scored from close range.

The Americans created few chances after half-time and Antigua nearly went in front in the final 10 minutes as Byers curled a drive just wide of the right post.

Antigua goalkeeper Molvin James then produced a good save from Michael Bradley’s header to keep the match even.

However, he was unable to keep out Johnson’s late far-post header, which gave the Americans all three points.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Andres Guardado and Oribe Peralta got Mexico rolling with late goals en route to a blanking of Guyana in the neutral venue of Houston, Texas.

Guyana defender Charles Pollard scored an own-goal in the 83rd minute before Hernandez headed home less than two minutes later.

Angel Reyna capped the scoring with a 25m blast for Mexico, who are a perfect 5-0 in group play with one game remaining in Group B.

Jose Cubero’s 31st minute goal was enough to push Costa Rica two points clear of El Salvador in the group, leaving them with only a home match against Guyana to negotiate to qualify.

In Group C, Canada joined Panama on 10 points courtesy of a 3-0 win over Cuba.

Tosaint Ricketts gave the Canadians an early lead when he sent a cross from Ante Jazic into the back of the net in the 14th minute before Will Johnson and David Edgar put the result beyond doubt in Toronto.

However, Olivier Occean will miss Canada’s final match after he was sent off.

Panama and Honduras played out a scoreless draw in Panama City leaving the Hondurans on eight points. They host Canada on Tuesday knowing a win will book a ticket to the final stage.

Panama’s final match is against the winless Cubans in Havana.

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