BOSTON - A spectacular injury-time equaliser from Stuart Holden saved the United States' blushes as they drew 2-2 with Haiti on Saturday to clinch a quarter final berth in the Gold Cup. The result put the United States top of Group B with seven points from three games. The draw was also enough for Haiti, on four points, to progress to the quarter finals. In other Group B action, Honduras thrashed Grenada 4-0 to finish second and advance to the last eight. Haiti looked to have pulled off the first major upset of the tournament after two goals inside the first five minutes of the second half put them 2-1 up. The U.S. took the lead in the sixth minute when Scottish-born midfielder Holden threaded a delightful pass to Davy Arnaud who finished confidently with a left-foot strike. Holden was then denied by the under-side of the cross-bar after launching a thundering drive from 30 yards out. But the game was transformed just a minute after the break when Vaniel Sirin squared the ledger with a diving header at the back post after accepting a fine cross from Leonel Saint-Preux. Three minutes later, a rocketing strike by Mones Chery from over 25 yards whistled past Luis Robles in the U.S. goal. The U.S., fielding a weaker side than the team that reached the final of the Confederations Cup, struggled to break down Haiti's defence until Holden produced another rocket which flew into the top corner of the net. First half goals from Walter Martinez and Roger Espinoza gave Honduras a comfortable 2-0 lead over hapless Grenada, before Melvin Valladares and Carlos Costly sealed the win after the break. The win gave Honduras second place in Group B and a quarter final booking with Canada. The top two teams in each of the three groups go through to the quarter-final stage of the competition along with the two best third-placed teams.
12 July 2009
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