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Cuba U20s advance to quarterfinals
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PUEBLA, Mexico - Cuba advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Nicaragua on Wednesday at the Estadio Universitario BUAP. The result also clinched the Group B title for the Caribbean Lions, who captured maximum points from their two matches.

Similar to its 2-1 win over Canada on Monday, Cuba once again played at a high tempo, combining individual skills with unselfish off-the-ball movement. That recipe caused the Nicaraguans - playing in their first tournament game - problems for most of the evening.

Striker Maykel Reyes, one of the stars of the competition thus far, was outstanding. His pace, willingness to take on defenders and ability to deliver timely passes has been a revelation.

Those talents led to Cuba's opening goal in the first half.

Reyes bolted into the left side of the Nicaraguan box and was taken down with a mistimed tackle by Cristiam Gutierrez. Team captain Arturo Adrian Diz Pe converted the resulting penalty in the 30th minute to give Cuba a 1-0 lead.

Three minutes after the break, the Cubans doubled their lead, when the towering Daniel Luis Saez beat Nicaraguan goalkeeper Pablo Cuadra to a Hector Morales corner and headed in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Just past the hour mark, Cuba could have added another, but Lazaro Mezquia's high chip over Cuadra clipped the crossbar.

That third goal came in the 64th minute and Reyes, as usual, was in the middle of the action. After beating his defender in the Nicaraguan penalty area, the relentless Yordan Cruz delivered a delightful cross that Reyes forcefully headed beyond Cuadra.

While Cuba can rest and wait to discover its knockout phase opponent, Nicaragua will look to bounce back against Canada on Friday. The Pinoleros must win that match to book a quarterfinal ticket.

 
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