Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Honduras 8 - Canada 1; Cuba 1 - Panama 1

Havana was the site of Cuba's final match of Brasil 2014 as their campaign ended at home against group leaders Panama.  Panama needed a draw to guarantee themselves a berth in the next phase of qualifying.  Cuba had yet to register a goal or a point during the campaign, but they found their first goal with seven minutes left in the half as a cross came in over the heads of two Panama defenders, leaving Alberto Gomez to take one touch at the penalty spot and then finish for an unexpected 1-0 halftime lead for Cuba.

Panama, who under normal circumstances would be under intense pressure to equalize, knew of the scoreline of the other match and were able to relax, and the lack of urgency was apparent.  Panama did manage a lucky goal as a Nelson Barahona cross flew over the head of a teammate and a defender and then bounced over another teammate and his defender to nestle itself into the upper ninety for the equalizer.  Panama went on to tie the match 1-1 to advance to the CONCACAF Fourth Round.

The simultaneously starts (and Cuba's propensity to avoid night matches at home) necessitated that the crucial Honduras home match against Canada in San Pedro Sula take place in the early afternoon in sweltering heat.  The men of the Great White North needed a draw to advance and eliminate Honduras, but they melted under a combination of the heat and the pressure.  The most anticipated qualifier of the day turned into one of the all-time maulings.  The Canadian back four were an absolute disgrace to the game of football and will be named in the hopes that they are embarrassed and shamed into performing better in the future: Left back Mike Klukowski (pictured, red #3), captain and center back Kevin McKenna (pictured, red, back to camera), center back Andre Hainault (pictured, red #5), and right back David Edgar.  Jerry Bengston notched two goals in the first sixteen minutes to send Honduras on their way to the next phase of qualifying; Honduras needed a win to advance.  Carlo Costly scored his first and headed from a Bengston header to the back post.  3-0 was insufficient for one half, so Mario Martinez added the fourth after nutmegging Hainault to send Honduras comfortably up 4-0 into the break.

The avalanche of goals continued into the second half with Costly getting his second for 5-0.  Martinez finished his personal tally with a nice finish from outside the penalty area, putting Honduras up 6-0 after one hour of play.  Canada substitute Iain Hume surprisingly had the goal of the match off a free kick to make it 6-1.  Bengston then finished his hat trick after turning and spinning and leaving Hainault on the ground in his wake.  Costly finished a hat trick of his own with two minutes to go to give Honduras an 8-1 victory that eliminated Canada from Brasil 2014.  Canada coach Stephen Hart resigned in the wake of the disaster.  It is hard to believe that these were the same Canucks who should have defeated Honduras at home in what ended up being a scoreless draw in June.

Honduras 11 pts +9 IN
Panama 11 pts +4 IN
Canada OUT
Cuba OUT

Alberto Gomez 38

Nelson Barahona 76

Jerry Bengston 7, 16, 82
Carlo Costly 28, 48, 88
Mario Martinez 32, 59

Iain Hume 76

Match Reports:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXZcwa-LWqU (Cuba v. Panama)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqwlX3ySlQU (Honduras v. Canada)

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