El Salvador became the first country at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup to move on to the Quarterfinals of the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday that ensures the Salvadorians' advancement out of Group A.
The result gives El Salvador a second straight victory to start group play coming off their 2-0 win over Guatemala, enough to both send them through and give them a chance to win the group outright with one more match to go against Mexico on Sunday.
El Salvador controlled the action and the better of the chances throughout the first half, jumping on top right on the half-hour mark through a stellar individual effort from Jairo Henríquez. The 27-year-old midfielder made a slick turn to set himself up off a feed from Bryan Tamacas before teeing up a shot from outside the area that glanced off the far post and into the net.
Trinidad turned up the pressure in the second half with a handful of chances, but couldn't quite find an equalizing goal. They came closest in the 66th minute off a deflected cross that nearly found the net, but wound up getting denied by the post.
El Salvador then found the dagger in the 90th minute off a rebound finish from Walmer Martinez. Amando Moreno hit his initial shot off the post, saw it roll all the way back across goal while hugging the line, before teammate Juan Carlos Portillo flubbed the first rebound attempt but deflected the ball right to the forward for the tap-in finish.
- 30' - SLV - Jairo Henríquez
- 90' - SLV - Walmer Martinez
- THE BIG PICTURE: Mexico was expected to dominate this group, but it's El Salvador who have delivered a pair of victorious results to become the first team to officially make it to the Quarterfinals. Credit to manager Hugo Pérez and his group for getting the job done with a match to spare. Trinidad did well to get a clean sheet against Mexico in their group stage opener, but couldn't replicate the feat this time. Perhaps more frustratingly, they couldn't find the score sheet for a second straight match despite playing much more on the front foot in the second half of this contest.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Henríquez's opener was the prettier highlight, but El Salvador's second goal featured one of the more bizarre assists you'll ever see to cap off an all-around wild sequence at the end.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Henríquez scored that aforementioned game-winner and was also at the center of a couple of El Salvador's other most dangerous opportunities.
- MAN OF THE MATCH:
- TAT: Sunday, July 18 vs. Guatemala | 10 pm ET | FS2
- SLV: Sunday, July 18 vs. Mexico | 10 pm ET | FS1