San Pedro Sula – Second-half subs Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona and Jurgen Damm managed to undo four months of preparation from World Cup qualifying rivals Honduras in Mexico’s two-nil win at the Metropolitano Olimpico stadium.
Before the match Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto had highlighted the importance of facing the Tricolor by claiming that his side had prepared for months to face their Group A rivals on all aspects.
What Pinto couldn’t have prepared for, however, were the flashes of brilliance displayed by the Mexican upstarts. In the 66th minute Corona broke the stalemate scoring with a superb volley after controlling the ball with a cheeky back heel set up.
The goal was a welcome sigh of relief for a Tricolor squad that had full control of the match but was playing under the weight of a 22 year winless streak at Honduras.
Corona’s stunner silenced the Olimpico stadium as a shocked Honduran team showed no signs of being able to get back in the match. Instead, six minutes later Jurgen Damm would extend Mexico’s lead with a potent from inside the box. The Tigres midfielder’s goal was a clear reflection of the match with the Tri upstart having out-hustled his opponent.
“Let us enjoy this moment but be aware that the road to Russia is still very long. We took an important step and that is all,” said team captain Andres Guardado after the match. With the win Mexico remain atop Group A of CONCACAF qualifying with 6 points and a 3 goal differential.
Despite Mexico’s perfect form Guardado cautions his teammates not get confident. “This is a win that we will enjoy but won’t make a big deal about. We must remain calm and remember that in the previous qualifiers, in this group stage, we managed to qualify without any problems only to have complications during the Hexagonal.”
“We were surprised because of their radical change,” admitted Pinto at post match press conference. “We had an idea that they could play us like that but they did a good job of containing us. I knew they were going to be a complicated team and they fielded a line of five almost stable.”
“Seeing the productivity is no longer at fault, one goes and chooses those that have to be chosen. I am the most affected and hurt because I have been losing my things, I have been fighting and I can’t find that football additive, something to help me with my work, added the frustrated Pinto.
“There is a generational change that is costly, we can’t deny that,” added the Honduras manager. With two straight defeats the ‘Catrachos’ are now in danger of failing to qualify to the Hexagonal.