Guatemala's Carlos Ruiz (pictured) acknowledges the home fans after scoring five goals in a World Cup Qualifying win over visiting St. Vincent & the Grenadines on September 6, 2016, in Guatemala City. (Photo: Juan Meoño)
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – If it was to be Carlos Ruiz’s last game for Guatemala, he couldn’t have asked for a better goodbye, scoring five goals in a 9-3 win over visiting St. Vincent & the Grenadines in a fourth-round CONCACAF qualifier for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday at the Estadio Mateo Flores.
Despite winning by an impressive margin, the Guatemalans (3W-1D-2L, 10 points) were eliminated from the competition after the United States (4-1-1, 13) secured Group C’s second Hexagonal berth with 4-0 defeat of Trinidad & Tobago (3-2-1, 11).
After Oalex Anderson struck for the first of his two goals to give the visitor a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, Guatemala netted three straight times.
Gerson Tinoco headed in from the edge of the six-yard box to level in the 13th minute off a Rafael Morales’ left-sided cross.
Immediately afterwards, Ruiz went to work, sliding home a precise cross from right in the 20th minute to make it 2-1.
The 36-year-old forward added four more goals (27', 36', 57', 59'), while Jairo Arreola (55'), Rafael Morales (78’) and Jean Marquez (82') contributed one each.
Anderson completed his brace in the 29th minute and Nazir McBernette tallied with a minute remaining in normal time for the SVG’s third.
Ruiz also became the all-time leading scorer in World Cup Qualifying history with 39 goals, four more than Iran’s Ali Daei.