• Friday Dec 14, 2012

    Draws mark day four at UNCAF U17s

    SAN MIGUEL PETAPA, Guatemala -- Little was resolved on a day when the defenses clamped down and goals were rare at the UNCAF U-17 Championship, as three teams will head into the final match day with a chance to claim the two tickets left on offer for next year's CONCACAF finals.

    Honduras and host Guatemala squared off in the second game of a doubleheader on Thursday at the Estadio Julio Armando Cobar. The visitors fielded an alternative lineup in their last match in the competition after having qualified for the confederation tournament with three straight wins to kick-off the week.

    In the 33rd minute, Guatemala found a way to breach the Honduran defense for the first time. Luis Samayoa lined up a free kick from the left wing, about 40 meters from goal. His service eluded two Honduran defenders and the Catracho goalkeeper to give the host the lead.

    After beginning the second frame with a pair of offensive minded substitutions and a good deal of pressure, Honduras managed to tie the match. Luis Santos controlled a poor clearance at the corner of the Guatemalan box and fired home a precise shot into the top corner for the 65th minute equalizer.

    Despite Honduras' continued persistence, Guatemala held on for the 1-1 draw to remain undefeated, and secure a fifth point that places the host closer to qualifying for the CONCACAF event.

    "The positive thing is that we're close to qualifying," said Samayoa. "Now we just need to close well, playing the way we know how against Costa Rica on Saturday."

    In the day's opener, Costa Rica and Nicaragua played to a scoreless tie, leaving both teams with options heading into Saturday's final match day.

    In a game with few scoring chances, Nicaraguan goalkeeper Rendel Hodgson and his opposite number Jorge Jara of Costa Rica were the true standouts, leaving Costa Rica with four points and Nicaragua with two, with just one match to be played.

    "To be honest, we had planned a much more offensive game plan," said Nicaraguan coach Luis Londono. "But Costa Rica is a strong opponent, well positioned on the field, and they made things difficult for us. The good thing is that we're still alive and we'll look for a way to win on Saturday."

    On the final match day on Saturday, also at the Estadio Julio Armando Cobar, Nicaragua will take on already eliminated El Salvador, while host Guatemala receives Costa Rica in the closing match of the tournament.

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