Quickfire goals give El Salvador a vital win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup over Curacao

Two early goals from Gerson Mayen and Rodolfo Zelaya paved the way towards an important victory for El Salvador in Group C

Quickfire goals give El Salvador a vital win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup over Curacao
Rodolfo Zelaya celebrates second goal. | Photo Getty Images
El Salvador
2 0
El Salvador: Carillo; Tamacas, Romero, Mancia, Vidal Larin, Orellana (77 Menjivar), Ceren, Mayen (56 Flores), Torres, Zelaya, Bonilla.
Curacao : Room; Gaari, Lachman, Jakoba (61 Maria), Justiana, Mulder, Bacuna, Nepomucen, Hooi (46 Van Kessel), Janga, Antonia (75 Martinus).

At the Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado, in front of almost empty stands, El Salvador emerged winners 2-0 in a vital clash against Curacao.

Both teams started their CONCACAF Gold Cup commitments with a defeat, and while a win would have kept someone's hopes alive, a loss would eventually send the loser home. 

This is the second time that El Salvador sent Curacao packing, as they have already eliminated the small island from the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifications with a 2-0 aggregate win in the third qualifying round. 

La Selecta took control in the first half 

Eduardo Lara's side immediately gained a foothold of the match as they attempted to forge ahead as early as possible and they went close on eight minutes through Gerson Mayen.

Moments later, Curacao squandered a possible lead when Jarchinio Antonia failed to curve the ball past Derby Carrillo.

As time went by, both teams were striving to boss the game with clear-cut chances for either side, but it was the Salvadorians who forged ahead on 21 minutes. 

Mayen played a wall pass with Rodolfo Zelaya and instead of returning the ball to the number 11, he slotted the ball past Eloy Room putting his side in front.

Three minutes later, they doubled the score, almost sealing the deal. Nelson Bonilla notched the ball delightfully on the feet of Zelaya and the latter raced towards goal before firing a shot past Room. 

On the brink of half-time, Remko Bicenti's men could have pulled one back but Rangelo Janga failed to convert from the penalty spot. 

Curacao were unable to get the necessary three points. Photo: Getty Images
Curacao were unable to get the necessary three points. Photo: Getty Images

Curacao miss, El Salvador preserve

After the change of ends, El Salvador still shared most of the possession and they almost added a third through Zelaya, but his shot was squirmed by Curacao's goalkeeper.

Their offensive proposition was a continuous threat for the Curacao side and the latter found it difficult to impose their game. 

Janga's curse in this match hit him again on minute 55, when he connected with a wonderful cross from the left hand side, but his towering header struck the woodwork before being cleared out away. 

On the opposite side of the field, Zelaya continued to rue chances for his nation, missing the opportunity to seal the victory. 

On minute 65, Bonilla curved a delightful ball past Curacao's goalkeeper, just to be denied by inches. 

Past the 70 minutes mark, Alexander Vidal Larin and Darwin Ceren had a couple of attemps on goal, but neither player managed to hit the base of the net. 

With Curacao failing to threaten El Salvador and the latter squandering one chance after another, the result remained the same and La Selecta took victory home maintaining their hopes alive of qualifying into the next round. 

What is next for both teams 

El Salvador will end their group phase commitments with a crucial tie against Jamaica and with a win, they would secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

On the other hand, the Caribbean champions will seek to put on an important display against a solid Mexico in their final outing at the Gold Cup.