Day 4: Mexico and Honduras take charge as group B takes form.
By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor
Both the Mexicans and Hondurans took care of business on Monday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Jamaica. The two nations combined for five goals in their victories, as El Salvador failed to hold on to the three points. With these results Mexico is on the verge of qualifying to the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Game 1: Canada 0-2 Mexico
Scorers: (MEX) Hirving Lozano 30th minute and (MEX) Diego Pineda 90th + 2nd minute.
El Tri entered the match focused and not distracted by a confident Canadian team also at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. They put the Canucks under pressure for the entire 90 minutes by taking 17 shots.
However, Mexico would have to wait till the 30th minute to take the lead; star midfielder Hirving Lozano would elude two Les Rouges defenders in the penalty box with nifty footwork. Then he blasted the ball past Canadian goalie to make it 1-0.
After that goal the Canadians did not fold under the consistent pressure of the mighty Mexicans. Instead they generated six shots and nearly scored two to three times.
It would not be until the final seconds of the game till Mexico solidify the 2-0 victory.
The Mexicans, who sit in first place with a two point lead over second place Honduras, will have the perfect chance to put some space between them and the Catrachos, with a victory against the Central Americans on Thursday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. As for the Canadians, they will need to rebound against a tricky Salvadorian side on Thursday at the same location.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/MYStvZAChzE.
Game 2: Cuba 0-3 Honduras
Scorers: (HON) Alberth Elís 60th minute, (HON) John Suazo 65th minute and (HON) John Benavidez 83rd minute.
This match was a tale of two halved, with the Cubans having the Central Americans on the ropes in the first half. The Leones del Caribe (Lions of the Caribbean) took five of their seven shots in the first half, and if it was not for the crossbar at the 7th minute the Cubans would have been ahead.
However, in the second half , two events changed the outcome of the match: the injury of starting goalie Elier Pozo, and the collapse of the defense. This lead to the rebirth of the offense of the Honduras.
All three goals were errors from the defense. The Caribbean side failed to clear the ball multiple times, and it was clear that the communication in the back went missing when Pozo was subbed off.
The Honduras can now overlap the Mexicans for first place of group B if they defeat El Tri on Thursday at Montego Bay Sports Complex. However, that will be a very tall order for the Catrachos.
As for the Cubans, they surprisingly are still not out of the tournament, but their World Cup lives barely have a pulse. The Leones del Caribe need to beat Haiti on Thursday, and, depending on other results, they could be tied for fourth place.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/zgwhEwddBLo.
Game 3: El Salvador 1-1 Haiti
Scorers: (SLV) Jose Villavicencio 27th minute and (HAT) Jonel Desire 89th minute.
It was a match that both teams could have won and needed to win, but instead blown opportunities from both sides led to a 1-1 draw. But the Salvadorians came within a few minutes of stealing three points and jumping to second place of the group.
The Selecta took the lead in the 27th minute when the Villavicencio blasted the ball into the roof of the net, after receiving a crisp pass in the penalty box.
However, after taking the lead the Salvadorians failed to take control of the match and score a second goal. Their failed chances would eventually come back to haunt Central Americans.
In the 89th minute Haiti was awarded a penalty kick after a Salvadorian defender committed a brainless foul. The defender elbowed the Haitian attacker in the head. The penalty was given and Desire blasted the ball into the roof of the net to end the match at 1-1.
With the Selecta blowing the victory at the end, they were forced to get three points against the Canadians on Thursday at Montego Bay Sports Complex. Anything but 3- points would seriously put a dent in their World Cup lives. The Haitians are in the exact same boat as Salvador. However, they will be facing last place Cuba on Thursday at the same location. A victory against their fellow Caribbean rivals is much more realistic than Salvador defeating the Canadians.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF, http://youtu.be/N_VGSOQAS5g.