Head coach Jorge Luis Pinto (pictured) and Honduras sit fifth in the CONCACAF Hexagonal table through six matchdays. (Photo: Jorge Campos)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Honduras (1W-2D-3L, 5 points) missed an opportunity to climb into fourth place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday night, playing host Panama (1W-4D-1L, 7 points) to a 2-2 stalemate.
The Hondurans were leading 2-1 in the last minute of normal time, when Roman Torres’ right-footed strike gave the host its fourth draw in six Hexagonal matches. As a result of the late heroics, both sides remained fourth and fifth in the table, respectively.
“It hurts me having lost two points, but in some way Panama has already lost six points at home, so we have to take advantage of that,” said Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto in his post-match press conference. “It was a tough match and the necessity to win had to be searched for. We are at fault. It hurts me because of the effort put in by the boys on the pitch…because Panama was at home.”
According to the 64-year-old Colombian, both Panamanian goals could have been avoided.
“In the two goals we lost the ball in a childish way,” he remarked. “We lack more confidence and security in those phases of the match.”
The Hondurans are three points behind the third-place United States for the last automatic World Cup berth. Pinto is encouraged by that fact, knowing that his side can still qualify for a third straight time.
“I came for the dream [of a World Cup] and I maintain that I am going to go to a World Cup, although it is not easy,” concluded the former Costa Rica manager.