In a surprising turn of events, Guadeloupe managed to secure a 2-2 draw against Canada in their Group D opener of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at Toronto FC’s BMO Field.
Canada initially took what seemed to be a winning lead with an own goal in the 71st minute. Ali Ahmed from Vancouver Whitecaps FC kept the attack alive and fired a shot that deflected off Meddy Lina and found the net, giving Les Rouges the advantage.
However, in stoppage time, the visitors retaliated with an own goal of their own. Jacen Russell-Rowe inadvertently deflected the ball into Canada’s goal during a late corner kick, causing a possible CONCACAF Gold Cup win to slip away from the home team.
Thierry Ambrose, a former Manchester City academy standout, opened the scoring for Guadeloupe in the 23rd minute. He skillfully evaded Steven Vitoria and finished the ball beyond Milan Borjan.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Canada came out strong in the second half. Junior Hoilett was brought down in the box, initially awarded a penalty, but it was overturned after VAR review. Nevertheless, Canada managed to find the equalising goal in the 49th minute. Hoilett combined well with former Whitecaps striker Lucas Cavallini who calmly finished a low ball at the back post.
Meanwhile, Guatemala celebrated a 1-0 win over Cuba in the opening round of the group stage, taking the lead in Group D. In the 48th minute, Darwin Lom, who returned from a long injury break, scored the decisive goal with a right-footed shot from the right side of the box, assisted by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Despite missing a penalty earlier, Lom redeemed himself with the match-winning goal. The result followed a 2-2 draw between Canada and Guadeloupe in the earlier game in Toronto. This marked Cuba’s 11th appearance in the Gold Cup and their first since 2019, after missing the 2021 tournament due to visa issues.
Guatemala holds the advantage in the overall series between the two teams, with 10 wins, four losses, and three draws, outscoring Cuba 20-9. Their next match will be against Canada on Saturday.