The last of the twelve second-round ties in North, Central America and the Caribbean is now underway as Cuba managed a slim win over Antigua and Barbuda in a 4-3 goal feast in St. John's.
Kerry Skepple, who scored in a recent friendly with St. Kitts, grabbed the opener for the home side in only the 9th minute of the first leg of the CONACACAF region's second round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Cuba's Jaine Valencia drew level just a minute later, but Skepple struck again shortly after in the 13th minute to put the hosts up. Cuban Yoel Colome equalised in the 22nd minute, and Valencia made it 3-2 for Cuba with his second of the night on 74 minutes.
The home crowd at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium thought their side had earned a share of the points when Tyio Simon made it 3-3 in the 81st minute, but Leonel Pla silenced the supporters for good to give the Cubans a 4-3 win with just five minutes to go.
The rest of the second round first legs in the region took place at the weekend, with the biggest shock coming in the form of a 2-1 win for minnows Bermuda over Germany 2006 participants Trinidad and Tobago on the road in Macoya. The USA powered past Barbados 8-0 in Los Angeles, while Mexico struggled to a 2-0 win over Belize in Houston. Costa Rica, much to the chagrin of their fans, could only manage a 2-2 draw in St. George's against Grenada.
The remaining second leg ties will take place between 18 and 22 June.
On Saturday 14 June, Honduras became the first team to qualify for the group stages of North, Central American and Caribbean qualifying after their 2-2 draw with Puerto Rico in San Juan. Combined with their 4-0 win in the first leg, this produced a 6-2 aggregate victory for the Catrachos.
CONCACAF qualifying round 2 at the halfway mark:
Grenada 2-2 Costa Rica
Antigua and Barbuda 3-4 Cuba
Suriname 1-0 Guyana
Guatemala 6-0 St. Lucia
USA 8-0 Barbados
St. Vincent 0-3 Canada
Haiti 0-0 Netherlands Antilles
Belize 0-2 Mexico
Panama 1-0 El Salvador
Trinidad and Tobago 1- 2 Bermuda
Jamaica 7-0 Bahamas
Honduras are through to the group stages after beating Puerto Rico 6-2 on aggregate.