Action from the CONCACAF World Cup qualifier between host Jamaica and Honduras on October 15, 2013, in Kingston. (Photo: FIFA via AFP)
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Honduras sealed a second straight trip to the World Cup finals after a 2-2 draw with host Jamaica on Tuesday at the National Stadium. The Catrachos finished third in the final round table to claim the last automatic qualifying place from CONCACAF by going unbeaten in its last four games.
Carlo Costly gave the visitors a dream start in the second minute, striking a left-footer from seven-yards out after the ball was headed in his direction off a corner kick.
A minute later, the Reggae Boyz equalized after a chaotic scramble in front of the Honduran goal. Deshorn Brown collected the ball on the right side of the goal area and sent it back towards the net, causing Jorge Claros into an inadvertent tap in from a yard out.
Maynor Figueroa restored Honduras’ lead in the 32nd minute with a crushing left-footed free kick from 35-yards out that deflected off the Jamaican wall and snuck inside the near post. It was the 30-year-old’s first-ever World Cup Qualifying goal in 35 outings.
Though the Jamaicans were already eliminated from Brazil 2014 contention and down a goal, they kept trying to play good football. Their enterprise was rewarded in the 59th minute as Rodolph Austin tucked away a penalty kick after Honduras was whistled for a handball in the box.
The evening, though, belonged to Honduras. The Central American side will participate in its third World Cup next year, looking to build upon its performance at South Africa 2010, where it finished with one point from three games. A 0-0 draw with Switzerland followed respectable losses to Chile (1-0) and eventual champion Spain (2-0).
Jamaica showed improvement over its last four qualifiers, obtaining three draws following the appointment of German Winfried Schafer as head coach in July.