Under a rainy night in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic made an epic run to the last 16 of the CONCACAF U20 Championship by securing their ticket to the round of 16 of this Pre-World Cup after a 2-2 draw with Saint Lucia on Saturday at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez to finish as Group B leaders.
The goals were scored by Jason Joseph and Edison Azcona in the final minutes of the match to mark a historic comeback in front of a good crowd that was rooting for the national team.
From the start, both teams played with a high intensity. The first dangerous goal of the match was for Saint Lucia after a cross-shot that Steven Octave almost managed to connect.
At 27′, there was a good opportunity for the Quisqueyanos to open the scoreboard with a cross by Alfeni Tamarez that Edison Azcona could not connect with his head and the rival goalkeeper caught it without problems and thus avoided the fall of his goal. Just a minute later, with a long distance shot and after a mistake in the Dominican defense, the visitors opened the scoreboard through Kegan Caull.
Almost at the end of the first half of the match, another opportunity was created for the tricolor after a bad save by the goalkeeper of Saint Lucia that Jason Joseph Yambatis failed to take advantage of in a good way. Then came the second goal for the visitors after a free kick where the attacker Caull took advantage of another mistake by the Dominican defense to score the second goal of the night for his team, to his personal account and thus end the first half.
In the first ten minutes of the second half, Sebastián Mañón could have scored the first goal for the Dominicans, but his header went very low and without direction. At 60′, Yambatis tried again with a powerful shot that Saint Lucia’s goalkeeper, Darren Donaie, managed to catch. When the clock reached 66′, Ángel Montes de Oca tried to find a goal with a shot on goal that was blocked again by the visiting goalkeeper.
At 82′, Omry Bello, with an exquisite save with his left hand, managed to avoid the third goal of the night for the visitors. Minutes later, at 86′, Diefry Mensú again looked for the goal with a powerful shot, but his shot found the goalkeeper at the near post.
At 88′, Jason Joseph Yambatis scored the long-awaited goal for the Tricolor national team to give the Dominicans hope. At 90+4′, with only seconds left in the match, captain Edison Azcona scored the second goal that would give the tie to the Quiqueyans, which left them first in Group B and gave them the ticket to the final phase of the U-20 Pre-World Cup and put them among the best 16 in CONCACAF.
It should be noted that this is the second pre-World Cup edition in this category and under this CONCACAF format in which the Dominican Republic has advanced to the round of 16, the first was in 2020, but the game was suspended due to the pandemic.
The next instance will be played in 2022 and details will be announced by CONCACAF in due course.