Qatar propelled themselves into the knockout stage of the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup thanks to a 1-0 victory over Mexico in the final match of Group ‘B’ on Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Qatar’s victory, coupled with a 2-1 Honduras win against Haiti, secured a place in the quarter-finals for Qatar, who finish second in the group and will meet the first-place finisher of Group C next Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Qatar’s win underlined the steely resolve of the young side under Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz.

The 70-year-old veteran coach was thrilled with Qatar’s super show.

“Our players showed a great attitude and great fighting spirit. They deserve this win. The players, they’ve been fantastic. It was a difficult game and against a great team like Mexico, but we did it!,” he stressed.

Asked about the secret to their win over Mexico, he said: “Their fighting spirit and concentration. Against a team like Mexico there is no other option. And playing in a match where you have to fight for your lives, we had to create chances and this is what we did and we scored, we’re happy.”

Queiroz also praised Mexico saying that they are an excellent team with distinguished players. The match against Mexico was a valuable learning experience for Qatar and that they will be better prepared for future matches against top teams, he remarked.

While Mexico came out strong with possession of the ball and asking questions of the Qatar defence, it was Qatar who broke the deadlock in the 27’ when Musaab Khidir swung a cross into the area from the right flank and Hazem Shehata thumped a header into net for a 1-0 Qatar lead. Mexico went right to work on finding an equalizer and it almost happened on an Edson Alvarez header off a corner kick that curled right over the crossbar in the 35’.

The best opportunities to score in the first 45 minutes came seconds before halftime when an Orbelin Pineda effort was snuffed out by Qatar goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham, only for the ball to recirculate and Santiago Gimenez unable to steer his shot goalward when all alone at the back post.

Gimenez was presented with another gilt-edged chance to score shortly after the re-start in the 52’, yet Barsham appeared again to spoil the goal celebration and keep his side ahead. That was followed by another near-miss by Gimenez in the 70’ on a shot he swung just wide of the post. As each minute ticked by, Mexico ratcheted up the pressure and started pinning Qatar further back in their own area. The Qataris countered by making defensive substitutions, while Mexico went all in on the attacking end.

El Tricolor would get several last cracks in the final 10 minutes, but somehow were never able to beat Barsham with a bevy of headers off several corner kicks. In the end, the three points, and a quarter-final ticket, belonged to Qatar, while Mexico finished the group in first-place despite the defeat and will meet the second-place team from Group C on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Ferreira hits another hat-trick as USA, Jamaica reach quarters
Jesus Ferreira became the first player to score back-to-back hat-tricks for the United States as the Gold Cup hosts beat Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 on Sunday to book their place in the quarter-finals.

Jamaica also qualified for the last eight from group A with ease after beating St. Kitts and Nevis 5-0 in Santa Clara, California. Both the United States and Jamaica finish the group stage on seven points, having drawn in their meeting, but the Americans top the group due to better goal difference.

Trinidad went close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute in Charlotte when winger Levi Garcia crossed from the right, but Joevin Jones fired his volley over the bar. Three minutes later, Ferreira, who had scored three in Wednesday’s 6-0 win over St. Kitts, opened his history-making account with a smart first touch and quick finish after a pull-back from DeJuan Jones.

Ferreira then doubled the lead when Alex Zendejas put in a ball from the left and while Trinidad keeper Marvin Phillip kept out Ferreira’s first effort, the FC Dallas forward pounced on the loose ball and fired home. Colombia-born Ferreira grabbed his third from the penalty spot, confidently converting after Djordje Mihailovic was brought down in the box. The Americans lost momentum after the break and Trinidad went close when Shannon Gomez struck the post with a fierce drive in the 62nd minute.

But 19-year-old substitute Cade Cowell made it 4-0, keeping his cool to round Phillip and slot home and moments later he struck the post after cutting in from the left. Gianluca Busio made it five by side-footing a Julian Gressel pass into the net, while Brandon Vazquez completed the scoring after more good work from Cowell.

Jamaica were too strong for tournament debutants St. Kitts, going behind after half an hour when Kaheem Parris’s low ball across the box was turned in by the grasping arm of keeper Julani Archibald.

After the Reggae Boyz had two efforts ruled out for offside, Jon Russell doubled the lead after a clever back-heel from Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey. Di’Shon Bernard made it 3-0 after a jinking run from the influential Demarai Gray and goals from Daniel Johnson and Cory Burke completed the rout.



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