A late goal has given Haiti a valuable point in the first match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup as they managed a 1-1 draw against Panama at Toyota Park in Frisco on Tuesday night. Dukens Nazon made himself a hero for Haiti as he scored the goal in the 85th minute to salvage a point.
Panama went in to the match as heavy favorites after finishing the 2013 version of the tournament in second place. But Haiti were determined and looked to assert at least their physicality in the early stages of the match.
It was all Panama in the early stages as they had plenty of possession but were often restricted by the overzealous defense of the Haitians. That lead to dangerous chances for Panama, the first clear chance coming in the 10th minute as Anibal Godoy was able to hit a shot from the free-kick which went just wide.
The Haitian defense was going all out to keep Panama out as they consistently put their bodies on the line to block efforts. In the 20th minute, on his home pitch, Blas Perez had a solid opportunity as he crossed the ball in for Luis Tejada but his effort was well saved.
Chances game to Haiti just after the half hour mark, first to Donald Guerreir who was able to get his shot away but see it blocked and cleared. Jean Sony Alcenat followed that on the clearance as he gathered possession in space, and shot but sent his effort over the bar.
Panama pushed for a goal in the later stages of the first half but they just could not break through despite the dangerous work of Anibal Godoy. The Panama offense was just too wasteful as the shots were not making the keeper work, keeping it scoreless at the break.
The second half saw Panama come out determined to get their opening goal and just 11 minutes in to the half it came. Perez was key as he headed the ball down for Alberto Quintero who hit a powerful shot past the keeper and in to the back of the net.
Almost instantly there was a response from Haiti as they should have been back on level terms just on minute later. Reginal Goreux found Jeff Louis in space at close range but he sent his effort just wide of goal.
Haiti were determined to get back on level terms for the remainder of the match with Jean Sony Alcenat and Jeff Louis looking dangerous for the Haitians. With 13 minutes to play there was a crucial change as Nazon came on the field, an attacking change for the injured Kervens Belfort.
Nazon made a quick impact as he had his first effort blocked but with four minutes to play he would not be denied. A stunning counter allowed Haiti to get the chance as Wilde-Donald Guerrier was able to get the ball to Nazon who hit it impressively out of the reach of the keeper to make it 1-1 and seal a point.