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Gold Cup: T&T Wins Group C, Mexico, Cuba Advance to Quarterfinal

Trinidad and Tobago surprised everyone by winning Group C thanks to a draw against Mexico on the final night of the group stage in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. El Tri finished second and Cuba pulled off a 1-0 upset of Guatemala to advance as well.

Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico played to an exciting 4-4 draw in Group C play Wednesday night.
Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico played to an exciting 4-4 draw in Group C play Wednesday night.
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The group stage of the Gold Cup officially concluded Wednesday night with Trinidad and Tobago tying Mexico by a thrilling score of 4-4, keeping them ahead of El Tri and thus giving them a berth in the quarterfinal as a group winner. The two other teams from the group that advanced were Mexico and Cuba.

Position

Team

Points

Wins

Losses

Draws

Games

1

Trinidad and Tobago

7

2

0

1

3

2

Mexico

5

1

0

2

3

3

Cuba

3

1

2

0

3

4

Guatemala

1

0

2

1

3

Guatemala was the team eliminated despite sitting ahead of Cuba in the table prior to Wednesday's games. They led their Caribbean opponents by a point entering their match, meaning a win or draw would pit them against the USA in a quarterfinal on Saturday. But they managed to lose in a stunner to a team that had lost by a combined 8-0 against Trinidad and Mexico in their first two games.

It was an extremely disappointing end for the Guatemalans, who had plenty of first-half chances against Cuba yet couldn't get any of them to trouble goalkeeper Diosvely Guerra and, as it turned out, would fall due to Maikel Reyes's header goal in the 73rd minute.

For the Cubans, they become the Cinderella team of the tournament. Deportation and visa issues hindered the team throughout the group stage, not to mention their early struggles that included a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Mexico, but they fought back and secured a crucial win over Guatemala along with a second consecutive place in the quarterfinal.

While a date with the defending-champs USA in Baltimore this weekend is looming and Cuba is no doubt the underdogs by a long-shot, maybe, just maybe, if they can drum up some of the magic they conjured in North Carolina, they could have a chance against the CONCACAF giants.

The second match of the day, a well-anticipated show-down between leaders Trinidad and Mexico, did not disappoint. With T&T in need of just a point to clinch the group, Mexico fought hard, trying to get that all-important victory that would set them up with a clash against Panama in the next round instead one with World Cup-quarterfinalists Costa Rica.

But despite their best efforts, they only managed a draw, meaning no first place.

A 4-4 draw was the last thing people expected, especially considering that both teams played a formation that included five in the back, normally a very defensive strategy. But that's what happened, and boy did it happen in the craziest way possible.

Mexico got off to a good start, such a good start that they managed to go up 2-0 and hold the lead until the game was close to being a half-hour away from finishing. But in the 55-minute, Keron Cummings cut the lead in half, and just three minutes later, it was tied 2-2, breaking the hearts of the green and red-clad Mexican supporters on hand at Bank of America Stadium. They were even more disappointed when Cummings scored arguably the goal of the tournament so far, a magnificent left-footed strike from a rough angle that curved into the corner.

A 3-2 lead for Trinidad and Tobago felt secure; after all, Mexico needed a win and that meant two goals in a half-hour were necessary.

It seemed all the more likely when the match came two minutes away from the 90th and it was the score remained the same. But it got a little interesting (as if it wasn't already) when Andrés Guardado submitted his response to Cummings' strike.

With the score now 3-3 Mexico pressed, and pressed hard for a winning goal. Crosses came flying in constantly at all angles toward the Trinidad defense, and, in the 90-minute, one finally ended up in the back of the net.

It was on an own goal. Kenwyne Jones, who had T&T's second score, accidentally tipped a Mexican cross past keeper Marvin Phillip, sending the countless El Tri fans in the bleachers into an absolute frenzy, as their team seemed to be minutes away from a Group C win.

The lead lasted approximately two or three minutes, as Yohance Marshall headed home a ball from the Chicago Fire's Joevin Jones to knot it back up at 4-4 and give Trinidad and Tobago a group win.

So yeah, a pretty exciting game to say the least.

Trinidad and Tobago will face Panama at 3:30 p.m. CT on Sunday on Fox Sports 1, while Cuba will face the USMNT on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT on Fox.