07.01.02 - An elegant header from Carlos Ruiz gave Guatemala a 1:0 victory against Cuba in the first of two friendly matches at Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana as both teams intensified their preparations for FC Gold Cup 2002.
Ruiz took advantage of slack marking in the Cuban area and rose up alone to head perfectly home, receiving a measured cross from the left from Juan Carlos Plata in the final minutes of the first half.
Guatemala was better organized tactically, but Cuba held a physical advantage in a back-and-forth affair before some 3,000 spectators.
From the opening whistle Guatemala put together the better attacking movements, led chiefly by the promptings of midfielder Freddy Garcia for the strike force of Plata and Ruiz, continually threatening the goal defended by Cuban goalkeeper Odelin Molina.
Yet Guatemala goalkeeper Edgar Estrada showed he was in top form midway through the first half when Cuban forward Maikel Galindo found himself alone at the penalty spot, only to see his shot saved by the chapines ‘keeper.
After Ruiz headed home in the 42nd minute, the match wound down in the second half, Guatemala in particular suffocating the midfield through the work of Gonzalo Romero and Fabricio Benítez.
The teams play again Wednesday 9 January at Estadio Pedro Marrero.
06.01.2002, La Habana, Estadio Pedro Marrero
CUBA – GUATEMALA 0:1 (0:1)
Carlos RUIZ 42’
CUB: Odelin Molina – Livan Perez (Lazaro Dalcourt), Alexander Cruzata, Mario Pedraza, Alexander Driggs, Jorge Ramirez, Jeniel Marquez (Miguel Angel Gandara), Silvio Pedro, Raciel Torres. Alberto Delgado, Maikel Galindo (Serguei Prado)
GUA: Edgar Estrada – Denis Chen, Israel Donis, Gustavo Cabrera, Alvaro Jimenez, Gonzalo Romero (Uwaldo Perez), Omar Pivaral, Fabricio Benitez (Fredy Thompson), Fredy Garcia (Claudio Albizuris), Carlos Ruiz (Mario Acevedo), Juan Carlos Plata (Juan Francisco de Leon)
R: Pedro Luis GOMEZ