U.S., Canada one step closer to World Cup qualifying
(Reuters) - The United States and Canada posted important wins on Friday in their quest to get to the final phase of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying while already qualified Mexico demolished Guyana 5-0.
Recalled forward Eddie Johnson scored twice, including a 90th minute match winner, giving the U.S. of a 2-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda in St. John's and ensuring that they remained locked atop Group A with Guatemala, who beat Jamaica 2-1.
Both the U.S. and Guatemala, who meet in Kansas City on Tuesday, are on 10 points with identical goal difference. Jamaica must beat Antigua and overturn the three-goal difference to give themselves any chance of advancing.
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 (73rd) and David Edgar (79th) put the result beyond doubt in Toronto.
Olivier Occean, however, will miss Canada's final match after he was sent off following a small fracas.
Panama and Honduras played out a scoreless draw in Panama City leaving the Hondurans on eight points and will 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.
Mexico, already assured of progression, remained undefeated in Group B with a 5-0 demolition of the winless Guyana, with all five of their goals coming in a nine-minute burst when Andres Guardado started the rout in the 77th minute.
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 move on.
The top three teams from the final round of qualifying, a round-robin involving the six sides that advance from the third stage, will automatically qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil.
The fourth-placed team will take part in a play-off against the top team in the Oceania region.
(Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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