Jurien Gaari belted a thunderous equalizer in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, and Curacao advanced to their first ever Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals with a dramatic 1-1 draw against wasteful Jamaica at Banc of California Stadium on Tuesday night.
Gaari's 28-yard leveler canceled out Shamar Nicholson's 14th-minute strike for Jamaica, which still advanced out of Group C with the draw in both teams' group finale. Curacao pulled even on points with El Salvador, who were eliminated later Tuesday on goal difference following a 4-0 loss to border rivals Honduras.
Curacao would've been sent home with better finishing from the Reggae Boyz, who outshot their Caribbean colleagues 17-11 and missed three clear scoring opportunities, according to Opta.
Jamaica will face the loser of the US national team's Group D finale against Panama on Wednesday, with Curacao to face the winner. The US would also win the group and face Curacao with a draw Wednesday.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Reggae Boyz manager Theodore Whitmore swapped out four of his front six from their 0-0 draw against El Salvador last Friday night in Houston, including Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey. It might've cost his side two points here, but Jamaica still won the group. And if they advanace past the quarterfinals, they'll have to play a semifinal three days later.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Best just to watch Gaari's cracker rather than to try and explain it.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Kemar Lawrence. The New York Red Bulls left back could've had three assists with better finishing from his Reggae Boyz teammates, both from the run of play and on several dangerous set pieces and corners. When Curacao did find some joy, it was generally on the opposite flank.
- JAM: Sunday, June 30 vs. USA/Panama, Gold Cup quarterfinals (5:30/8 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN)
- CUW: Sunday, June 30 vs. USA/Panama, Gold Cup quarterfinals (5:30/8 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN)