ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- Behind a spectacular 25th minute strike from Carlos Ruiz, Guatemala secured a vital three points with a 1-0 win at Antigua and Barbuda, strengthening the Chapines' quest for a first-ever World Cup bid, and sending the islanders towards the brink of elimination.
Ruiz, Guatemala's all-time leading scorer, pounced on a mis-clearance from the local defense, and slammed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from well outside the penalty area. It was the 32-year-old's 55th goal in 103 appearances for the Bicolor.
Antigua and Barbuda fought mightily on its home pitch at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, but were unable to find the equalizer, largely due to alert goalkeeping by Guatemalan goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez.
The result leaves the Guatemalans on seven points in Group A, even with the U.S. for first place, just ahead of Jamaica on goal differential. Antigua and Barbuda was left with just one point, and the slimmest of chances to advance. The Benna Boys would need two wins from their remaining matches, and for Guatemala to do the same to hope to advance on goal differential.