Second round: The Catrachos held on and defeated Guatemala 2-1 to qualify to the World Cup.
By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor
Honduras pulled through and qualified to the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand on Saturday at Montego Bay Sports Complex at Montego Bay, Jamaica by defeating Central American rivals Guatemala 2-1.
At the 56th minute Michaell Chirinos ran into the penalty box with a Chapine defender attempting to knock him down. Chirinos shrugged off the Guatemalan and ran deep into the box. The goalkeeper eventually came out to close his angle.
However, the Catracho midfielder found Alberth Elís making a run into the right hand side of the box. Chirinos wasted no time and sent Elís a quick crisp pass. The Honduran blasted the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Honduras started the match aggressive by taking five of their nine shots in the first half. If it wasn’t for Guatemalan goalie Nicholas Hagen stopping the Catrachos penalty in the 17th minute, the Chapines would have been behind early.
Before the first half ended, Chirinos received a long range pass and Guatemalan defender missed the header clearing danger out of the box.
The midfielder let the ball bounce once, and then blasted the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 for Honduras at the 39th minute.
However, when the Chapines went down 2-0 their offense picked up as they took seven of their 11 shots in the final 34 minutes.
Diego Alvarez cut the lead in half with a spectacular free kick from outside the box. He sent the ball to the top left hand corner of the net, making the score 2-1 at the 74th minute.
At the 86th minute, the Honduras goalie made the two most critical saves of the tournament. Roberto Lopez came up with two back-to-back reaction saves denying Guatemala the tying goal and guaranteeing their trip to New Zealand this spring.
“First off I thank God that we advanced to the World Cup,” Honduras midfielder Jhow Benavidez told CONCACAF after the match. “It was not easy; we sacrificed game by game…thank God for the strength of this team to carry each other.”
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/GIXIopoYlTM.