Curacao claims shock quarterfinal berth at Gold Cup

Curacao held Jamaica 1-1 but its berth in the quarterfinals was confirmed when El Salvador crashed out with a 4-0 loss to Honduras.

Curacao's players celebrate after Jurien Gaari (down) scored a goal during the Group B Gold Cup match against Jamaica on Tuesday.   -  AFP

Jurien Gaari scored a stoppage time equaliser as Curacao held Jamaica 1-1 at the Gold Cup in Los Angeles on Tuesday and booked a surprise quarterfinal for the tiny Caribbean nation.

Curacao had a nervous wait after the early match in Group C, but its progression was confirmed when El Salvador crashed out with a 4-0 loss to Honduras in the late contest.

The latter result put Jamaica top of the group on five points, with Curacao, with a population of 160,000, claiming second on goal difference ahead of third-placed El Salvador.

Jamaica will play the runner-up of group D, either the United States or Panama, who are locked on six points ahead of their match on Wednesday, the U.S. with a vastly superior goal difference.

Curacao will meet the winner of Group D.

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Shamar Nicholson scored for Jamaica in the 14th minute with quick reflexes but could have had a hat-trick by then, having already missed a point-blank header and sent a shot crashing against the post.

Jamaica squandered several other chances, while Jarchinio Antonia missed a great opportunity for Curacao late in the first half when he dragged a shot wide.

Just when it seemed Jamaica would not pay for their profligacy, Curacao equalised in the 93rd minute when defender Gaari smashed a 25-yard strike into the corner after being set up by Leandro Bacuna.

Curacao almost completed a smash-and-grab victory when substitute Elson Hooi missed a long-range shot by millimetres with virtually the last kick of the match.

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