Claros puts Honduras in Gold Cup knockout stages
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jorge Claros scored in second half stoppage time to give Honduras a 1-0 win Friday night over El Salvador and a spot in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“The priority was to classify to the next phase and it was achieved,” Honduras coach Luis Suarez said. “A goal at the end makes it more a joyful occasion.”
Edder Delgado’s pass found an open Claros, who took a couple of steps inside the area and blasted a shot past goalkeeper Dagoberto Portillo. El Salvador players immediately disputed the goal with referee Jair Marrufo, insisting Claros was offside on the play.
“The officiating was not the determining factor of the result,” El Salvador coach Agustin Castillo said.
Minutes earlier, Kevin Santamaria nearly gave El Salvador a late goal when he dribbled into the area and his left-footed shot bounced off the right post in the 87th minute. Haiti, which scored a 2-0 win over Trinidad Tobago earlier Friday, is second in the group with three points and a game against El Salvador remaining.
“This is very painful for us,” Santamaria said. “We just have to put this loss behind us and look for an opportunity to qualify.”
El Salvador, which has one point after two matches, will conclude its group phase against Haiti on Monday. Haiti currently is second in the group following a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago earlier Friday.
“We can’t think of the next round until we evaluate our players for our third group match,” Suarez said. “We have short turnaround time before we play again on Monday and need to see how our players are responding physically.”