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Reggae Boyz Stay On Top, Guyana Suffer Drubbing
NEW YORK (CMC):
Guyana suffered their second loss in five days when they were blitzed by Costa Rica, but Jamaica's Reggae Boyz had their progress stymied when they were held to a frustrating nil-all draw by Antigua-Barbuda in the semi-final round of CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday night.
Playing at the National Stadium at Providence in Georgetown, Guyana were undone by Alvaro Saborio's hat-trick to lose 4-0, after finding themselves down 0-2 at half-time.
The Real Salt Lake forward put the visitors on the scoresheet as early as the 20th minute after being set up Bryan Oviedo and doubled the lead six minutes later as Costa Rica assumed command of the fixture.
Saborio completed his hat-trick seven minutes after the half-time break when he combined again with Oviedo to dismantle Guyana's back line.
Joel Campbell then added Costa Rica's fourth, 13 minutes from the end to pile on the misery for Guyana, who also lost to Mexico last Friday.
In St John's, the Reggae Boyz's hopes of etching their second win were dashed when Antigua-Barbuda produced a sterling defensive effort to steal a point at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Clad in gold, Antigua were cheered on by an estimated 8,000 spectators who chanted the team's moniker 'Benna Boys, Benna Boys, Benna Boys' throughout the game.
Goalkeeper Molvin James kept out several attempts by the Jamaicans, including a golden opportunity from Luton 18 minutes into the second half.
Meanwhile, Antiguan striker Peter Byers brought his side close to scoring in the 23rd minute of play, but he shot straight at goalie Dwayne Miller, in for regular custodian Donovan Ricketts who was injured.
Another attempt in the second half saw Byers weaving his way through the Jamaican defence, but the ball was swept inches away from the crossbar.
Jamaica, who beat Guatemala in their opener last weekend, have four points in Group A along with the United States, while Antigua are bottom of the standings with Guatemala, both on one point.
The US, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw after Clint Dempsey put them ahead five minutes before half-time and Marco Pappa equalised with seven minutes remaining.
In Group C, Cuba lost their second straight with a 0-1 loss in Panama City, while Canada and Honduras drew nil-all in Toronto.
Giants Mexico, however, kept up their winning run when Hector Moreno scored eight minutes from time to seal a 2-1 win over El Salvador in San Salvador.