Joshua Perez bagged a brace to lead El Salvador to a 2-1 win over Haiti in their Group B finale of the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship on Thursday at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico.

With the victory, El Salvador’s hopes of reaching the knockout round are still alive, pending the result of the Canada-Honduras match.

El Salvador started off by poking and prodding the Haitian defence before breaking through in the 19’ with a superb strike from Joshua Perez, who received a pass in between a pair of defenders and fired in a left-footed shot to make it a 1-0 El Salvador lead.

The joy was short-lived though, as less than two minutes later Haiti pulled back level 1-1 when an El Salvador giveaway in their own half led to a quick break, with Roberto Louima fighting off a trio of defenders and beating El Salvador GK Tomas Romero for the equalizer.

El Salvador would then regain the lead right before halftime, with Perez following up his header that deflected off the post and finishing with his left foot to make it 2-1 to El Salvador.

El Salvador was keen to add to their lead to start the second half and had several looks at goal, but was unable to find a way past Haiti GK Alan Jerome.

The reprieve sparked Haiti to life in attack and Louima, along with Peterson Joseph, suddenly had the Salvadoran defence and Romero on their heels.

Danley Jean had one final look at goal for Haiti, but was unable to convert, allowing El Salvador to see things out to claim the win.

Meanwhile, Honduras claimed the top spot in Group B of the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying championship by virtue of a 1-1 draw with Canada in their group stage finale on Thursday night at the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Catrachos completed the group stage with five points and a first-place finish and will now face the United States in Sunday’s semifinals in which the winner will advance to the 2020 Olympics In Tokyo.

Canada wrapped up their Group B campaign with five points as well, finishing second on goal difference and will now take on host nation Mexico in hopes of a first Olympic berth since 1984.

Honduras had a bright start and Kervin Arriaga came within a whisker of the opening goal in the 9’ with a right-footed shot that slammed onto the post and out.

Canada reacted well and after missing on an earlier header, Derek Cornelius found the target in the 28’ on his second attempt to give Canada a 1-0 lead by connecting on a cross from Patrick Metcalfe.

 Honduras’ response was immediate and two minutes later in the 30’ Denil Maldonado was first to reach Edwin Rodriguez’s free-kick and headed in past Canada GK James Pantemis to draw the Catrachos level 1-1.

The second half started off with a good tempo and Juan Carlos Obregon was set to give the Hondurans their first lead of the night in the 54’, but was unable to head into the net from just a few yards out.

In the 73’ it was Luis Palma almost converting on a loose ball in the area but the Honduran attacker saw his shot blocked by Pantemis.

In the end, Honduras were never able to find a second goal, but the result was enough to seal a first-place finish.

 

 

 

Haiti kicked off the second day of the First Round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying for Qatar 2022 with a 2-0 home victory against Belize.

The home side dominated the proceedings in Port-au-Prince in the first half but was unable to beat Belize goalkeeper Woodrow West until the 50th minute, with Ricardo Ade getting free in the box to head in a corner kick.

It was another corner kick that doubled Haiti’s lead, with Steven Seance taking advantage of some confusion in the box to knock in another in the 80th minute.

Belize now makes the quick trip to the Dominican Republic for a contest with the Turks and Caicos Islands, who also serve as Haiti’s next opponent when qualification resumes in June.

Meanwhile, the Guus Hiddink era got off to a strong start for Curacao, which beat Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 5-0.

Curacao applied a press from the opening window and forced a turnover that Juninho Bacuna was able to tap in for the opener. Anthony van den Hurk then scored in his debut in the 17th minute, with Bacuna adding his second of the night in the 35th minute.

Jarchino Antonio sent the teams into the Ergilio Hato Stadium locker rooms at 4-0 with a goal just before the halftime break, before Curacao capped things in the 87th minute with Leandro Bacuna spurring a counter-attack and Elson Hooi finishing the move.

Trinidad and Tobago also enjoyed a big win Thursday, getting past Guyana, 3-0. Levi Garcia got things started early with a lovely individual goal, squeezing past the defenders and the end line and then firing home in the seventh minute.

A free-kick from Ryan Telfer deflected off CB Sheldon Bateau’s thigh and into the goal in the 15th minute to extend the Trinidad and Tobago lead.

It was three when Telfer pounced on an error from Guyana GK Akel Clarke in the 44th minute, with the goalkeeper fumbling an attempt to collect and Telfer able to finish into the open net.

Canada kept pace with Suriname atop Group B, seeing off a challenge from Bermuda with a 5-1 win.

Alphonso Davies whipped in a free-kick from the right side in the 19th minute that found Cyle Larin and went in for the opening goal.

In the 27th minute, Davies came down the left side of Canada’s attack and beat Bermuda GK Dale Eve to a ball. He once again connected with Larin, who was able to power his finish into the net before Eve fully recovered.

Richie Laryea added to the lead, surging forward from left-back in the 53rd minute and scoring the first goal of his national team career.

Milan Borjan kept his net clean for more than an hour but dropped a ball that Kane Crichlow pounced on to bring one back. But Davies and Larin linked up once again in the 68th minute to complete Larin’s hat trick and Theo Corbeanu scored in his debut after his run took Bermuda by surprise and Liam Millar found him in the box.

Panama and Barbados looked destined for a scoreless draw with both teams getting opportunities but sending them wide of the goal or off the post.

Then, in the 82nd minute, Jair Catuy’s run into the box went unchecked and Jose Murillo found him for a diving header that put the 2018 FIFA World Cup participant in the lead.

Thomas Christiansen’s squad saw out the 1-0 result to open qualification with a victory.

In the nightcap at the Estadio Cuscatlan, El Salvador scored a goal in each half to claim a 2-0 win over Grenada.

Gerson Mayen brought a ball down in the box, used his left foot to move horizontally with the ball and then beat Grenada GK Jason Belfon.

Mayen turned provider on the second goal, as El Salvador scored just one minute into the second half on a break.

Mayen’s through ball found David Tony Rugamas, whose shot took a deflection and landed in the goal.

El Salvador now travels to meet Montserrat, while Grenada returns to St. George’s to welcome the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Bayern Munich wing-back Alphonso Davies wants to raise awareness for the plight of refugees worldwide after he was named as a global goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Canada international, 20, was born to Liberian parents in a refugee camp in Ghana after they fled their home country due to civil war.

Davies and his family were resettled to Canada when he was five, and at 16 he became the youngest ever player to represent the country's national team.

He is the first footballer to take on such a role with the UNHCR and vowed to help give refugees around the world a voice.

Davies told the agency's website: "I am proud to join the UN Refugee Agency as a goodwill ambassador. My own experiences make me want to speak up for refugees, to share their stories and to help make a difference.

"Whilst the refugee camp provided a safe place for my family when they fled war, I often wonder where I would have been if I had stayed there and not benefited from the opportunities I got thanks to resettlement. 

"I don't think I would have made it to where I am today. I want people to know about the importance of helping refugees, wherever they are, in camps or cities, in neighbouring countries or countries of resettlement such as Canada.

"Refugees need our support to survive, but also access to education and sports, so they can fulfil their potential and truly thrive."

UNHCR head Filippo Grandi added: "Alphonso personifies the power of sport and we are truly honoured to have him joining us. 

"Sport has the incredible power to bring hope, to heal and to help shape the future for those forced to flee. In our work with refugees, we see daily what uplifting difference sports can make in their lives.

"His personal story, his talent and triumph as a professional footballer and his commitment to help refugees is impressive. I am looking forward to working with him."

Davies joined Bayern from Vancouver Whitecaps in July 2018 and was a key part of their 2019-20 treble-winning campaign and subsequent Club World Cup victory.

He has played 52 matches in the Bundesliga, tasting victory on 39 occasions, with five goals and six assists in the competition.

Davies has one goal and one assist, from 15 chances created, in the 2020-21 season.

Former Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has been appointed by Canada in the same role after serving a ban for breaching World Rugby's anti-corruption and betting regulations.

Howley was given an 18-month ban in December, nine months of which are suspended for two years, after it was discovered he made 363 rugby bets over a four-year spell - including on Wales games during his time with the team.

Those misdemeanours ended Howley's 11-year spell as Warren Gatland's assistant, with the 49-year-old sent home from last year's Rugby World Cup before the tournament started.

The suspension - announced in December - was backdated to September 2019, meaning he could return to the sport from June this year.

And Howley has now accepted a job with Rugby Canada that will also see him work as a consultant with the Toronto Arrows for the 2021 Major League Rugby season.

"I'm excited to get to work and help prepare Canada for Rugby World Cup qualification," Howley said in a statement.

"I am also looking forward to my first season in MLR with the Toronto Arrows.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the synergy of a professional club loaded with domestic players in an emerging league to help support the national team - it is very similar to my past experience coaching in Wales."

Howley was tipped to take over as head coach of Italy before the betting breach was revealed and has more recently been linked with the top job at Wasps.

Canada head coach Kingsley Jones said: "Rob is one of the most highly regarded coaches in international rugby and I'm ecstatic that he will be joining us at Rugby Canada.

"He's someone that I've known and respected for a long time, and the opportunity to have Rob join our program is a huge step forward for Canadian rugby. His experience and expertise will benefit not only our young players but our entire coaching staff."

Rob Friend hailed "world class" Alphonso Davies and insisted Bayern Munich's treble-winning star has put Canada on the map after years of disrespect.

Davies has established himself as one of the most exciting players in European football since joining Bayern from MLS outfit Vancouver Whitecaps in 2019.

The 19-year-old speedster, who capped a fine domestic campaign with the 2019-20 Bundesliga Rookie of the Year award, has been a revelation on the left side of Bayern's defence, helping them to an eighth consecutive league crown, DFB-Pokal success and Champions League glory.

Davies – born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled their native Liberia before moving to Canada when he was five and eventually attaining citizenship in 2017 – became the first Canada international to play in a Champions League final as Bayern defeated Paris Saint-Germain to claim the treble.

Friend earned 32 caps for Canada between 2003 and 2011 and the 39-year-old former forward, who is chief executive of Canadian Premier League team Pacific FC, marvelled at Davies' impact.

"It's unbelievable," Friend told Stats Perform News. "I can certainly tell you sitting here in Canada, being part of the Canadian game currently with the Canadian Premier League which I'm involved in and really trying to grow the game, what he's done singlehandedly as a Canadian player at his age, it's going to be very hard to repeat for any young Canadian.

"If you told me a year-and-a-half ago that we were going to have a young Canadian winning the Champions League and starting, we all would've laughed. His growth in the last couple of years has honestly been a joy to watch as a former national team player, being involved in the game on a business side here. Once in a while, it takes a player like that to put this country on the map. We've never been a footballing country. Our national team has always sort of struggled at international level, never played on the world stage at the World Cup. It's gonna take once in a while a country like this to be put on the map and be respected. 

"I can certainly tell you that what he's done has opened up the door for a lot of young Canadians. I'm getting a lot of calls, asking if there's another Alphonso out there. Is Canada a hotbed for young talent? Even you look at Jonathan David, young Canadian who just transferred to Lille. A bigger transfer than Alphonso. Those are two of the top young players in Europe and they're Canadian. I would certainly say there are more Canadians out there. It's challenging when we're not making the World Cup to be on that level. We need more young Canadians going off to Europe."

Friend, who played for Bundesliga clubs Borussia Monchengladbach, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt in Europe, added: "It attests to his personality and the adversity he's gone through in his life, being an immigrant coming to Canada but also being a proud Canadian and representing this country. He is very grateful, him and his family. In the final on the stage he had the Canadian flag around him.

"Sitting back as a fan and a former player, I'm very proud he is representing Canada so well on and off the field. He's just a joy to watch. It's going to be fun to watch him over his career. Hopefully he has the luck, with injuries etc. I think he is world class already but you have to sustain that if you want to be at the top level year in, year out.

"Hopefully it opens up the door for more Canadians. That could honestly be one of his biggest achievements if he can help young Canadians because I certainly know you're at a disadvantage as soon as you walk into Europe with a Canadian passport. I would always joke that if I had a Brazilian passport I would have received double the offers I had. The wind is against you as a Canadian walking into Europe because they don't respect us as a country but he is certainly opening the doors and will provide more opportunities for Canadians moving forward."

The draw details for the Concacaf Qualifiers to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 have been confirmed.

The draw will take place on August 19 and as previously announced, the Concacaf Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 will take place over the course of three rounds, beginning with the First Round in October and November 2020.

Thirty of Concacaf’s 35 FIFA Member Associations will start the journey to compete for the region’s 3.5 qualifying spots.

Based on the FIFA World Ranking as of 16 July 2020, the draw for the first round will allocate the 30 lowest-ranked Concacaf teams to six groups.

 

The pots for the first-round draw are as follows:

Pot 1: El Salvador, Canada, Curaçao, Panama, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago

Pot 2: Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic

Pot 3: Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda, Belize

Pot 4: St Lucia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Montserrat, Dominica, Cayman Islands

Pot 5: Bahamas, Aruba, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla

 

The draw will begin by allocating the 30 teams into six different groups consisting of five teams in each group. The six teams from Pot 1, including 2018 FIFA World Cup participant Panama, will be pre-seeded to positions A1, B1, C1, D1, E1 and F1.

The highest-ranked team in Pot 1, El Salvador, will occupy position A1, while the lowest-ranked team in Pot 1, Trinidad and Tobago, will occupy position F1.

The draw will continue by identifying groups for teams in Pots 2, 3, 4 and 5. The position which each team occupies in a group is determined based on the pot from which it is drawn. For example, teams from Pot 2 will be placed in position 2 of each group, teams from Pot 3 in position 3 of each group and so on.

Teams drawn from each pot will be allocated to groups sequentially: A to F. The first team drawn will be placed in Group A, the next team drawn will be placed in Group B and so un until Group F.

Jamaican triathlete Phillip McCatty won three of four events to dominate the Sweet and Simply Jamaican Virtual Run that concluded on Tuesday, June 16.

Asafa Powell broke the 100 metres world record on this day 15 years ago, and the New York Rangers ended a 54-year NHL title drought in 1994.

No man has ever run faster than Usain Bolt over 100m, but Powell was Jamaica's sprint king in 2005.

The Rangers were celebrating at Madison Square Garden 26 years ago, while Canada's cricketers will not want to be reminded of this date in 1979.

We go back in time to look at some memorable sporting moments that have taken place on June 14.

 

1979 - Canada crumble at Old Trafford

A Cricket World Cup contest between England and Canada always looked like it was going to be a mismatch.

That was very much the case in Manchester, where the minnows were skittled out for only 45 - the lowest ODI score in history at the time.

Bob Willis (4-11) and Chris Old (4-8) wreaked havoc, Franklyn Dennis making almost half of Canada's runs before England took just 13.5 overs to seal an eight-wicket win.

 

1994 - Rangers rule in New York

The Rangers had not been crowned NHL champions since way back in 1940 and it looked like they may have blown their chance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Mike Keenan's side led the series 3-1 after losing the opening match, but the Canucks rallied to force a decider.

The tension was almost unbearable for Rangers fans, but Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Mark Messier were on target to secure a 3-2 victory and spark a huge party.

There has been no NHL glory for the Rangers since that triumph.

2005 - Powell keeps true to his word in Athens

A 22-year-old Powell said he was ready to break Tim Montgomery's 100m world record in Athens.

His confidence was certainly not unfounded, as he set a new mark of 9.77 seconds at the Olympic Stadium.

"It shows no-one knows how fast a man can run." Powell said after making history. He went faster another three times after Justin Gatlin had gone quicker in 2005.

Bolt holds the current record of 9.58, set in Berlin 11 years ago.

 

2007 - Imperious Spurs sweep Cavs

The NBA Finals 13 years ago proved to be one-sided, with the San Antonio Spurs dominating the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In their 40th season as a franchise, the Spurs wrapped up a 4-0 series victory with an 83-82 win in Cleveland.

Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 27 points as LeBron James' 24-point haul was in vain, with Tony Parker named Finals MVP for Gregg Popovich's side.

Donovan Bailey, the 1996 Olympic champion and former 100-metre world record holder, believes Canada has to confront its own issues of racism.

Bruny Surin won gold in the 4x100m relay at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.

The International Cricket Council today announced that the second series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A, set to begin on March 16 in Malaysia has been postponed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The 11-day tournament was scheduled between March 16 and 26 and involves teams from Canada, Denmark, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, and Vanuatu. Due to a rapidly developing heath emergency with increasing travel difficulties between countries and potential uncertainty arising for individuals returning to their country of origin, the decision was taken to postpone the event to later in 2020.

ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: “We have made the difficult decision to postpone the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We have been monitoring the situation very closely and have concluded that the best course of action is to postpone the event owing to the increasing travel difficulties between countries and the potential uncertainty around teams returning home.

“I would like to thank the Malaysian Cricket Association and all participating Members for their support. The wellbeing of everyone involved is our first priority and we look forward to the event being played later in the year.”

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League A is three steps away from the Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 to be hosted in India. 12 teams will compete in Challenge League A and B once a year respectively in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The league will see a total of 90 competitive 50 over List A matches for teams ranked 21-32. The top team in each league at the culmination of the competition will secure two of the six places in the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-Off to be held in 2022, alongside the bottom four of Men’s CWC League 2.

Goals from Captain Jody Brown, Lacey Murray and Marlee Fray spurred Jamaica to a 3-1 victory over Canada in the CONCACAF Women's U20 World Cup qualifying championship in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

In the wake of Jamaica’s 9-0 loss to Canada on Saturday in CONCACAF Women Olympic Group B qualifiers, the Reggae Girlz forward Chenya Matthews said she and her teammates have a lot to learn from the embarrassing loss.

Jamaica's Reggae Girlz were on the wrong end of a 9-0 thrashing, at the hands of Canada, in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship on Saturday.

Needing a win to keep their chances of advancing from the highly competitive group B alive, the Jamaicans found the firepower from the eighth-ranked Canadians a bit too much to handle and found very little in the way of competitive response.

  Canadian teenager Jordyn Huitema helped herself to five goals and Janine Beckie added three as the Maple Leaves booked their spot in the semifinals of the competition with one group game remaining.  In its first two games, the Canadians have scored an astounding 20 goals, after opening with an 11-0 thrashing of St Kitts.

Deanne Rose got the team’s other goal.  The Canadians will tackle Mexico, who earlier beat St Kitts 6-0, to see which team progresses as the winner of the group.  Jamaica will play St Kitts and Nevis in the battle to determine the minor placings.  The U.S. plays Costa Rica on Monday to determine the Group A winner.

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