HARRISON, N.J. -- Honduras soaked up the pressure and when it mattered most took its chances well to defeat Haiti, 2-0, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Monday.
The win propelled the Catrachos (1-0-0, 3 points) to the top of Group B ahead of El Salvador (0-1-0, 1 pt.) and Trinidad & Tobago (0-1-0, 1 pt.), who played to a draw 2-2 earlier in evening. The Haitians (0-0-1) have no points.
Rony Martinez scored his first international goal in the first half and second-half substitute Marvin Chavez added an insurance goal before a sold-out Red Bull Arena.
The Hondurans took the lead in the third minute. Mario Martinez kept his composure in the midfield after a tough tackle and passed to a surging Rony Martinez, who hammered the ball past goalkeeper Frandy Montrevil.
Haiti almost pulled one back three minutes later, but a well struck free kick from Jeff Louis was tucked over the goal post by goalkeeper Donis Escober. In the 20th minute, Louis set up Leonel Saint-Preux, who shot over the goal from inside the six-yard box.
After the break, the Haitians continued to press hard for the equalizer. They came close on several occasions, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Honduras put the game out of reach in the 77th minute, when Brayan Beckeles charged down the right flank and delivered a precise pass to a waiting Chavez. The San Jose Earthquakes star left no doubt with his shot to make the score 2-0.
Honduras, which won for the first time in four Gold Cup games, will next face rival El Salvador on Friday in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. In the opener, Haiti will look to bounce back against Trinidad & Tobago.