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Red-hot Zelaya propels Salvador into quarterfinals

HOUSTON – Striker Rodolfo Zelaya converted a rebound of his own saved penalty kick in the 76th minute to lift El Salvador to a 1-0 Group B win over Haiti in the CONCACAF Gold Cup at BBVA Compass Stadium on Monday.

The victory gave the Salvadorans (1-1-1) four points, boosting them into second place and sealing a quarterfinal berth. The loss left Haiti (1-0-2) with three points. 

El Salvador was awarded a penalty kick by referee Javier Santos in the 74th minute after assistant referee Philippe Biere ruled that Haiti’s Jean-Marc Alexandre fouled a Honduran player in the box.

Two minutes later, Zelaya took the spot kick, but it was saved by goalkeeper Frandy Montrevil. The rebound fell into Zelaya’s path and he slotted it home from six yards into the right side of the goal for his third goal of the tournament.

Until that goal, Zelaya endured a frustrating night as a pair of his shots banged off the woodwork, an 18th minute effort off the right post and a 50-yard chip off that bounded off the same post in the 39th minute.

Haiti created the first real chance of the match in the 11th minute when Jean Eudes Maurice split El Salvador's defense and fed Jeff Louis, whose shot was well saved by a diving Dagoberto Portillo.

The Grenadiers seemed prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure, a dangerous tactic that almost backfired at the start of the second half as Mark Lester Blanco's header went just wide of goal.

Zelaya tried again in the 69th minute, but Montrevil was equal to the task from point-blank range.

Moments later, off a free-kick, an Andres Flores goal was disallowed for offside.

NOTES:  El Salvador is unbeaten in five of its last sox Gold Cup games…Rodolfo Zelaya has scored seven of El Salvador’s last 11 Gold Cup goals, including the last four…Haiti still has never won consecutive Gold Cup games after 15 outings.

 

 
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