Action from the Copa Centroamericana game between Costa Rica (white jersey) and Honduras on January 20, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Honduras’ winning streak to open the 2017 Copa Centroamericana was snapped at three games, when it drew 1-1 with two-time defending champion Costa Rica at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez on Friday night.
Francisco Calvo connected for the equalizer almost on the hour mark for the second-place Ticos (1W-3D-0L, 6 points), who extended their unbeaten streak in the competition to 12 games (7-5-0). With the result, the Costa Ricans assured themselves of at least a berth in a 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying playoff against Haiti.
The table-topping Hondurans (3-1-0, 10) entered the match with a ticket to the Gold Cup already guaranteed, but they failed to clinch their fourth Copa crown. The Catrachos still could win the title if Panama (1-1-1, 4) and El Salvador (1-1-1, 4) play to a draw in the final match of the tripleheader later in the evening.
An evenly played first half saw the Hondurans grab a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Forward Erick Andino latched onto a long ball from Marcelo Canales and deftly placed a shot from the top left side of the six-yard box inside the far post past goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton for his second goal of the competition.
Andino joined Rubilio Castillo and Eddie Hernandez as Honduran players who have tallied two goals in this year's competition.
Costa Rica responded by urging players forward, but it didn’t level on the 59th minute, when Francisco Calvo fired a 15-yard shot from the top left of the penalty area and out of the reach of goalkeeper Donis Escober and into the net’s upper right corner.
Both sides will play their last 2017 Copa matches on Sunday, with Honduras taking on last-place Belize and Costa Rica meeting host Panama.