Trinidad defeats Cuba, advances to quarterfinals

Trinidad and Tobago defender Maikel Reyes, right, heads the ball away from Cuba forward Maikel Reyes (9) during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match Sunday, July 12, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Trinidad and Tobago defeated Cuba 2-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Arizona –Trinidad & Tobago (2-0-0, 6 points) sealed a spot in the knockout stage of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 2-0 win over Cuba (0-0-2, 0 points) on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Mexico (1-0-0, 3 points) can progress as well with a win against Guatemala (0-0-1, 0 points) in the second game of a Group C doubleheader later in the evening.

Sheldon Bateau and Andre Boucaud each scored in the first half for the Soca Warriors, who won consecutive games in the Gold Cup for the first time in 15 years.

Trinidad took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute, when Bateau hammered home from near the penalty spot. Cuba goalkeeper Diosvelis Guerra blocked Lester Peltier’s attempted 10-yard chip, but the ball fell to a charging Bateau for his second goal of the competition.

Boucaud doubled the advantage in the 43rd minute. The 30-year-old fired inside the right post with his right foot from 17-yards out after long throw-in into the box from the right side was headed in his direction by Cuba captain Yenier Marquez.

Cuba nearly halved the deficit just before halftime, but Maikel Reyes’ effort was saved by sliding goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, who was injured on the play and was replaced by Marvin Phillip.

Scoring opportunities were at a premium in the second half as Trinidad closed out the match with only its second shutout in 25 all-time Gold Cup outings.

The Soca Warriors return to action on Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they will face Mexico in a potential group-deciding showdown. Cuba will take on Guatemala in the first of the doubleheader.

NOTES: Sheldon Bateau became the first Trinidadian to score in two consecutive Gold Cup games since Arnold Dwarika in 2000.