Above: BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The game wasn’t pretty, and neither was the result for Haiti.
In an often ugly, contentious game in Houston, El Salvador topped Haiti, 1-0 on a penalty kick rebound by Rodolfo Zelaya in the 76h minute.
Haiti’s footballers got lucky twice in the first half, when El Salvador twice hit the post, and managed to survive some lapses in play by goalkeeper Frandy Montrevil.
But Les Grenadiers managed to hang tough, and maintained a scoreless draw until the 73rd minute.
That’s when the controversial call came that decided the game:
El Salvador’s Victor Turcios and Jean-Marc Alexandre were holding on to one another near the box before Turcios leapt forward, leading to what appeared to be a goal kick.
But while referee Javier Santos allowed play to continue on, assistant referee Philippe Briere overruled, called for a penalty kick.
Montrevil stopped the initial penalty kick by Zelaya, who then scored on the rebound to give El Salvador the lead it needed.
The Referee Santos seemed to lose control of the game early on, however, with tensions high and fouls aplenty — 33 of them, to be exact, and five yellow cards. — Haiti received four of them.
Haiti actually controlled the ball for more of the game, winning the time of possession battle with about 54 percent. But the questionable penalty call will be the story of this game going forward.
And with Trinidad and Tobago’s victory over Honduras, Haiti has been eliminated from the Gold Cup.
Updated: Tuesday, 9:45 AM