Own-goals propel Honduras past Belize

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Honduras benefited from a pair of own-goals to register a 2-0 win over Belize in the first 2014 Central American Cup match for each on Wednesday at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. 

The Group A victory extended Hondurans’ streak of conceding one goal or fewer in the competition to 16 games. 

In new head coach Hernan Medford’s debut, the 2014 FIFA World Cup participant became the first team in tournament history to reach the 100-goal mark.  The second own-goal enabled it to hit the milestone, but it came as a result of another CCA first – two own-goals in the same game.

From the start, Honduras looked sharp and played with purposeful intent. 

Forward Antony Lozano embodied that adventuresome spirit for a side that looked distinctively different from the one that lost all three games at Brazil 2014 only two months ago.  Early on, the Olimpia standout had an effort from seven-yards out blocked by goalkeeper Woodrow West and saw a bicycle kick whistle past the right post. 

The three-time CCA champion finally broke through in the 34th minute.  A right-sided corner kick was swung outwards in the direction of a jumping Erick Norales.  The Honduran defender could not connect, but the ball found the head of Jeromy James, who powered it beyond his own goalkeeper.

Only three minutes later, Belize was stung by another inadvertent miscue.  From the right side of the box, Wilfredo Barahona tried to guide a pass towards the far post.  In a sliding attempt to make a block, Elroy Smith pushed the ball past West into his own net.

The active Hondurans were unlucky not to tack on more goals after the break.

Another Lozano bicycle kick in the 52nd minute was saved at point-blank range by West for a corner.

Shortly afterwards, Jonathan Mejia collected a deflected pass in the penalty area and fired a low right-footed shot that forced West into a full-stretch stop.

Honduras, which is unbeaten in nine of its last 10 CCA games, will next face El Salvador on Sunday, while Belize meets Guatemala.  Both encounters are at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

To view the Highlights of this game, click here.