Honduras' Romell Quioto (pictured) celebrates after scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal against visiting Canada in a World Cup qualifier on September 2, 2016, in San Pedro Sula. (Photo: FIFA.com)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Honduras (2W-1D-2L, 7 points) edged closer to a berth in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a 2-1 win over visiting Canada (1-2-2, 4) on Friday at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
With the fourth-round result, the Hondurans moved into sole possession of second place in Group A and can clinch advancement with a draw on September 6 at first-place Mexico (4-0-0, 12), which plays El Salvador later in the evening. The Canadians must beat El Salvador (0-2-2, 2) that same night and hope that Honduras loses in order to have any prospect of advancing.
Romell Quioto – one of Honduras’ standouts during a run to the bronze medal match at last month’s Olympic Games – netted the game-winning goal in the 50th minute. From the right side of the box, Alberth Elis delivered a bouncing, diagonal ball to the left post, where Quioto ran in front of defender Doneil Henry and guided it in with his left knee.
Canada had taken a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute, when Manjrekar James jumped high to head home Scott Arfield’s splendid right-sided corner kick.
The host, however, equalized in the second minute of first-half stoppage time. A short corner from the left resulted in Emilio Izaguirre whipping a cross into the middle of the box. The ball was headed outside of the box to a waiting Mario Martinez, who lined up a left-footed shot that sailed past a series of defenders and bounced before beating goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Honduras had numerous other opportunities – outshooting Canada by a wide margin (19-3) -- but were thwarted by either Borjan, the woodwork or unlucky finishing. Oscar Boniek hit the crossbar in the 73rd minute and missed wide a minute later.
With three minutes left in normal time, Atiba Hutchinson’s last-ditch effort to level went wide of the mark.
Honduras is unbeaten in its last three qualifiers (2-1-0), while Canada is winless in four straight (0-2-2).