• Sunday Feb 14, 2016

    Guyana rallies for historic CWOQ win

    Guyana (pictured) celebrates after scoring against Guatemala in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship on February 14, 2016, in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)

    HOUSTON -- Two goals during a five-minute stretch in the second half lifted Guyana (1W-0D-1L, 3 points) to its first-ever win in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, defeating Guatemala (0W-0D-2L, 0 points), 2-1, in Group B play on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

    Guyana, which bounced back from an opening 5-0 loss to Canada on Thursday, is only the third side from the Caribbean (seven total teams) to win a match in CWOQ history; Trinidad & Tobago has been victorious twice and Haiti once. Guatemala lost for the second straight time.

    Mariam El-Masri and Alison Heydorn struck for the historic goals that keep the Guyanese in contention for a semifinal berth. Guatemala took a 1-0 lead thanks to Ana Lucia Martinez’s second goal of the competition.

    Martinez had other opportunities, especially in a first half that ended scoreless, but she found the back of the net in the 54th minute off a fine individual effort. After receiving a pass from Diana Barrera, the 26-year-old forward got into the left side of the box and shifted inside to create separation from defender Justine Rodrigues, before curling a right-footed shot into the far-side netting from eight-yards out.

    Rather than be demoralized by the setback, Guyana maintained shape and stuck to its game plan.

    Half-time substitute El-Masri, whose brother Sherif played for Canada at the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, had a shot miss the target in the 63rd minute. She wouldn’t err on her next attempt eight minutes later.

    After running onto a splendid ball played into the left side of the box off a neat give-and-go with Ashley Rodrigues, El-Masri used the outside of her right foot to beat goalkeeper Yoselin Franco from eight yards.

    Heydorn won the game in the 76th minute with a highlight-reel goal. The impressive midfielder ran onto an errant Guatemalan pass and first-timed it with her right foot, lofting a shot from 30-yards out over the leaping Franco.

    Guatemala wasn’t going to go down without a fight and it nearly equalized late, but Guyana goalkeeper Chante Sandiford made a double-save from a free kick to preserve the famous result.

    Guyana will return to action Tuesday against Trinidad & Tobago, while Guatemala faces Canada.


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