San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.- After debuting with a triumph last Saturday in Group A of the CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Qualifiers (CCWQ), both Cuba and Puerto Rico return to action on Monday at the Pan-American Stadium.
Cuba will face Aruba, who will make its debut in the competition, while Puerto Rico will play against hosts Dominican Republic.
Only the first place team from Group A will advance to the final round to be played August 25-September 2.
PUERTO RICO 10 ANGUILLA 0
Led by hat tricks from Selimar Pagan Rivera and Micaela Castain, Puerto Rico’s aspirations to qualify for the CONCACAF Women's Championship are on track after a 10-0 triumph over Anguilla in their 2018 CCWQ debut.
A header on 10 minutes from Karina Socarras Villalonga gave the advantage to Puerto Rico, who then doubled the lead in the 12’ with the first of Pagan Rivera’s three goals. Castain made it 3-0 with a header in the 20’ followed by Laura Suarez’s right-footed strike in the 23’. Pagan Rivera then stretched the lead to 5-0 in the 38’.
In the second half, Mariana Lopez penetrated the Anguilla defense and beat the goalkeeper Esther Ward in the 46’. Castain added a pair of goals in the 62’ and 65’ for her hat-trick, before Pagan Rivera followed suit and completed her hat trick in the 84’. Marcelo Robinso rounded out the 10-0 scoreline in the 85’.
CUBA 5 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1
With a hat-trick from Rachael Pelaez Ellis (10', 19', 63'), Cuba defeated the Dominican Republic 5-1 in the second match of Group A.
Pelaez Ellis opened the scoring on 10 minutes, but the home team responded immediately and pulled level 1-1 in the 15’ when Alyssa Jazmine Oviedo sent a left-footed shot into the back of the Cuban net.
Cuba would regain control through Pelaez Ellis, who tallied her second goal in the 19’ by beating local goalkeeper Claudia Torres. María Isabel Pérez made it 3-1 in the 36’ and Pelaez Ellis sealed the hat-trick in the 63’. Maristana Menaga Pérez closed the account for the Cubans in the 73’.
The winners of the six CCWQ groups will advance to the final round of the Caribbean qualifiers, to be played August 25-September 2.
The top three teams from the final round will qualify for the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship from October 4-17, with Group A to be played in Cary, North Carolina and Group B in Edinburg, Texas. The final stage will then take place in Frisco, Texas, with the top three teams qualifying as the CONCACAF representatives for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.