Haiti wins, edges closer to quarterfinals

Kervena Befort (pictured) celebrates after Haiti defeated Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 13, 2015, in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo: Mexsport)

KANSAS CITY, Kansas – Duckens Nazon scored in the first half and Haiti earned a 1-0 win over Honduras in the last CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A game for each at Sporting Park on Monday.

Haiti (1-1-1, 4 points) moved a step closer to clinching a third-ever berth in the quarterfinals and first since 2009. Honduras (0-1-2, 1), which reached the semifinals the last three tournaments, failed to advance out of the group stage for the first time since 2003.

Panama (0-2-0, 2 points) will meet the United States (2-0-0, 6 points) later in a rematch of the 2013 final.

The Haitians went ahead in the 14th minute courtesy of Nazon’s second goal of the tournament. Goalkeeper Jhony Placide played a long ball up the middle of the field that Kervens Belfort flicked on. Nazon beat Honduras captain Maynor Figueroa to the ball and bounced his shot from the right side of the box inside the far post. It was Haiti’s first goal against Honduras in three all-time Gold Cup encounters.

From the opening whistle, Haiti was the more aggressive team and chances came almost immediately with Nazon putting a shot on frame that goalkeeper Donis Escobar parried away in the second minute.

Six minutes later, Kim Jaggy played a dangerous ball to James Marcelin, who slid his shot wide.

Les Grenadiers suffered a blow in the 26th minute when Belfort was taken off the field on a stretcher and was replaced by Jean-Eudes Maurice.

Honduras made one change at the half, bringing on Eddie Hernandez for Anthony Lozano and the 24-year-old forward nearly leveled in the 58th minute. Hernandez stole the ball off a Haitian defender’s foot and raced in on goal. Placide came off his line to thwart the opportunity.

In the 66th minute, Andy Najar made a dangerous run along the end line, but his effort went wide.

Honduras’ last best chance came in the 75th minute only for Hernandez to send a point-blank header over the crossbar.