Haiti tops Nicaragua in Gold Cup qualifying playoff opener

Haiti (pictured) celebrates after scoring against visiting Nicaragua in CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying playoff on March 24, 2017, in Port-au-Prince. (Photo: Yonel Louis)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Jeff Louis scored two goals and Haiti moved closer to a berth in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 3-1 win over visiting Nicaragua in the opener of their qualifying playoff on Friday before 13,000 fans at the Stade Sylvio Cator.

The result means that the Haitians can progress to their third straight Gold Cup with a win, draw or even a 2-0 loss in the second leg on March 28 in Managua.

Louis (18’, 50’) struck in each half for the host, which went ahead 2-0 through Wilde-Donald Guerrier five minutes prior to halftime.  Carlos Chavarria  (40’) netted a valuable away goal for Nicaraguans, whose only Gold Cup appearance came in 2009.

Haiti extended its unbeaten streak in all competitions to four consecutive games, notching 13 goals over that stretch.