Patrick Burner of Martinique celebrates with teammates after scoring a first-half goal against El Salvador in a 2-1 CONCACAF Gold Cup victory (Megan Briggs)
Ten-man Martinique, sparked by nine saves from goalkeeper Yannis Clementia, held off El Salvador for a 2-1 Group C victory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Monday.
Martinique, eliminated in the group stage in the team’s past five Gold Cup appearances, had goals from Patrick Burner in the 11th minute and Kevin Fortune in the 16th, plus a late penalty-shot save by Clementia.
After Jonathan Rivierez was sent off with a red card in the 48th minute, the Caribbean side tightened defensively and denied the Salvadorans a goal until the dying seconds of extra time.
Costa Rica and Panama were set to meet later in a group-stage match at the home stadium of Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami, soon to be the club of Argentine star Lionel Messi.
Salvadoran turnovers set up both Martinique goals, the first after a cross-field pass found onrushing full back Burner, who fired a left-footed shot over a sliding defender and just inside the far post.
Barely five minutes later, an interception by Brighton Lebeau and a set up pass from Karel Fabien led to Fortune blasting in a one-touch shot off the outside of his right foot from the heart of the box to give “Les Matinino” a 2-0 advantage.
Martinique was stunned when Rivierez was issued a red card for a hard tackle early in the second half, the remainder of which they spent a man down.
The Salvadorans pressed the attack but Martinique disrupted it and Clementia made crisp saves, one a diving stop, on shots from the left side.
On a video review, El Salvador was awarded a penalty kick by Mexican referee Adonai Escobedo in the 83rd minute.
But Jairo Henriquez’s blast, aimed for the left side of the goal, was deflected wide on a full-extension dive right by Clementia to keep the Central American side scoreless.
Clementia was denied a clean sheet late in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time when Jean-Claude Michalet was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area.
Salvadoran captain Bryan Tamacas fired a penalty shot that clipped off the right foot of diving Clementia and went into the net, only for the final whistle to go moments after a restart.
El Salvador, which won two Gold Cup group-stage matches for the first time in 2021, faces Costa Rica on Friday, when Martinique meets Panama.
Tuesday’s Group D matches will send Canada against Guadeloupe at Toronto and Cuba against Guatemala at Fort Lauderdale.
The top two from each of four preliminary groups advance to next month’s quarter-finals in the North American biennial championship.