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Football: USA edges Costa Rica to claim top group spot

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The United States, who had already advanced to the quarter-finals, defeated Costa Rica 1-0 Tuesday to clinch top spot in the C group of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

Brek Shea scored late in the contest as he lifted the Americans over Costa Rica with his first goal in international play.

Shea took a pass from teammate Landon Donovan then raced towards the goal where he beat Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton with a precision shot in the 82nd minute.

Neither team failed to create a lot of scoring chances in the opening half which ended 0-0.

Donovan had one of the best chances for the USA in the 57th minute when he collected the ball inside the box but failed to make good contact on his shot.

Carlos Johnson almost got Costa Rica on the board in the 78th minute with a nice header off a free kick but the ball was knocked down by American goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Celso Borges had another chance for Costa Rica in the stoppage time, getting his head on a ball but Johnson made the save.

In Tuesday's other group C contest, Ariel Martinez scored a hat trick as Cuba reached the quarter-finals with a 4-0 dismantling of lowly Belize.

On Sunday, the USA will square off against El Salvador. The other quarter-finals will see Cuba battle Panama, Mexico faces Trinidad and Honduras goes up against Costa Rica.

gph/mdl

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130717/football-usa-edges-costa-rica-claim-top-group-spot