The three teams join hosts El Salvador in the decisive stage of the AWBG Qualifier
The Estádio Nacional Costa del Sol was the stage of an exciting first day of the ANOC World Beach Games Qualifier in El Salvador. Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago and the USA emerged victorious and booked a place in the semi-finals.
Los Ticos sweat to qualify
Guatemala and Costa Rica were the first two teams to step onto the sand of the Costa del Sol National Stadium for a match that promised to be a close one.
The Ticos took the lead through captain Greivin Pacheco’s well-placed free kick with just over a minute left in the first half, but moments later, José Eduardo Lem equalized.
In the second half, the Guatemalans sealed the comeback, with Miguel Angel Enriquez firing a powerful and accurate shot free from any marking. Wilson Gonzalez further extended their lead just before the break, finishing off a counter-attack in the best possible way.
But Jhonatan Sanchez’s goal at the start of the third period awakened Costa Rica. Enriquez would once again put Guatemala ahead with a two-goal advantage, but a minute later, Jhonatan Sanchez scored again to bring Los Ticos back into the game.
Greivin Pacheco equalized the match with five minutes remaining, and with less than two minutes until the final buzzer, Danny Johnson sealed the win for Costa Rica, who will face El Salvador in the semi-finals.
Nail-biter sees Soca Warrios go through
Balance was the dominant note in the encounter between Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago. Alexandre Soares’ team scored first through Wood Julmis in the eighth minute of the game, but the Soca Warriors equalized before half-time thanks to Anderson Peters.
Hakeem King put Trinidad & Tobago ahead with a superbly executed chip in the seventh minute of the second half, and the game remained open for the final stretch.
Goalkeeper Jabari Gray benefited from a bounce on the sand that deceived Michael Buttler to double Trinidad’s advantage with eight minutes left to play. Both teams came close to scoring on several occasions, and the pace of the game excited the fans in attendance. The contest became even more frenzied when Gavin Christie reduced the deficit to 3-2.
But Chad Appoo’s men held on to their lead and booked their spot in the semi-finals of the competition.
USA cruise past Belize
Francis Farberoff’s men lived up to their billing as favorites against Belize, imposing their authority from the outset with four well-placed goals. Christopher Albiston, Gabriel Silveira, Alessandro Canale, and Lukas Holocher were the architects of the Americans’ accurate strikes.
The United States maintained their dominant pace in the second period, with Cody Valcarcel, Nick Perea, and once again Gabriel Silveira finding the back of the net against Belize.
Although Kenyon Vaughn pulled one back, Andrés Navas added an eighth for the Americans, before James completed the 8-2 scoreline, securing Farberoff’s team a spot in the decisive match for qualification to Bali 2023 against Trinidad & Tobago.
RESULTS – 6 April
Guatemala 4-5 Costa Rica
Bahamas 2-3 Trinidad&Tobago
United States of America 8-2 Belize