Honduras (pictured) celebrates after scoring against visiting El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier on March 29, 2016, in San Pedro Sula. (Photo: FIFA.com)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- Honduras (1W-1D-2L, 4 points) is back in contention for a place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after earning a 2-0 win over visiting El Salvador (0-2-2, 2) on Tuesday night.
A crowd of 38,000 at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano watched as Oscar Boniek Garcia and Romell Quioto scored the second-half goals that gave the host its first win of the competition, lifting it into second place in Group A on goal difference over Canada, which fell 2-0 at first-place Mexico.
Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto was ejected in the 15th minute for protesting a refereeing decision in a fourth-round encounter that saw both teams receive a pair of cautions.
The Catrachos came close to taking the lead in the first half, only for Antony Lozano (24’) and Alberth Elis (45’) – scorers in Friday’s 2-2 draw at El Salvador -- hit the woodwork.
In the 52nd minute, the scoreless deadlock was snapped as a headed clearance by the El Salvador’s Darwin Ceren fell to Garcia, who controlled the ball with his chest and then fired a left-footed volley from 20-yards out inside the right post.
A tremendous diving save by Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escober prevented Nelson Bonilla from equalizing, before Quioto raced down the left wing and slipped a shot past Derby Carrillo for an insurance goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time.
Honduras returns to WCQ action on September 2 in a pivotal encounter against visiting Canada, while El Salvador will entertain Mexico the same day.