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Qatar upset Mexico to reach Gold Cup quarters, Ferreira hits another hat-trick

MIAMI (AFP) – Qatar upset Mexico 1-0 on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup while Jesus Ferreira became the first player to score back-to-back hat-tricks for the United States (US) in the 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago.

Jamaica also qualified for the last eight from Group A with ease, behind the USA, after beating St Kitts and Nevis 5-0 in Santa Clara, California.

In Group B, Qatar shocked already-qualified Mexico to qualify in second place and denying Honduras, who were eliminated despite beating Haiti 2-1.

Qatar, who are playing for the second time as a guest team in the tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean, survived a second half onslaught from Mexico to pull off a famous victory.

The 2022 World Cup hosts, coached by Carlos Queiroz from Portugal, took the lead in the 27th minute when Musaab Khidir whipped in a great cross from the right and Hazem Shehata found the target with a superb angled header.

That proved to be the only real effort on goal from the Gulf side as Mexico dominated but couldn’t find a way through.

Santiago Gimenez, who had survived a red card review for a swinging arm on a Qatari defender, fired wide from a promising position and then Edson Alvarez headed against the post.

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa is unable to stop a goal by Qatar’s Hazem Shehata during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup. PHOTO: AFP
Jesús Ferreira of the United States passes the ball during the first half of the Concacaf Gold Cup match against Trinidad and Tobago. PHOTO: AFP

Deep in stoppage time, Israel Reyes had another chance to level – and help Honduras into the knockout stage – but his header was also off target. Qatar, the reigning Asian champions, reached the semi-finals of the Gold Cup in their previous guest appearance two years ago.

Their victory meant Honduras’ comeback win against Haiti was in vain, an agonising outcome for the Central American side, whose players waited on the field as Qatar clung on.

It was a different story for the USA, who after an early scare utterly dominated against a poor Trinidad team.

The Caribbean side went close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute in Charlotte when winger Levi Garcia crossed from the right, but Joevin Jones fired his volley over the bar.

Three minutes later, Ferreira, who had scored three in last Wednesday’s 6-0 win over St Kitts, opened his history-making account with a smart first touch and quick finish after a pull-back from DeJuan Jones.

Ferreira then doubled the lead when Alex Zendejas put in a ball from the left and while Trinidad keeper Marvin Phillip kept out Ferreira’s first effort, the FC Dallas forward pounced on the loose ball and fired home.

Colombia-born Ferreira grabbed his third from the penalty spot, confidently converting after Djordje Mihailovic was brought down in the box.

The Americans lost momentum after the break and Trinidad went close when Shannon Gomez struck the post with a fierce drive in the 62nd minute.

But 19-year-old substitute Cade Cowell made it 4-0, keeping his cool to round Phillip and slot home and moments later he struck the post after cutting in from the left.

Gianluca Busio made it five by side-footing a Julian Gressel pass into the net, while Brandon Vazquez completed the scoring after more good work from Cowell.

Jamaica were too strong for tournament debutants St Kitts, going behind after half an hour when Kaheem Parris’s low ball across the box was turned in by the grasping arm of keeper Julani Archibald.

After the Reggae Boyz had two efforts ruled out for offside, Jon Russell doubled the lead after a clever back-heel from Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey.

Di’Shon Bernard made it 3-0 after a jinking run from the influential Demarai Gray and goals from Daniel Johnson and Cory Burke completed the rout.

Both the US and Jamaica finish in Group A on seven points, having drawn in their meeting, but the Americans top the group due to better goal difference.