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.