Honduras draws El Salvador

Central American rivals Honduras and El Salvador battled to a thrilling 1-1 draw in Group B of the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying championship.

The result lifts Honduras to four points through two games and ahead on goal difference over second-place Canada (4 points), while El Salvador have one point and are third in the group, nudging ahead of Haiti (1 point) on goal difference.

There was not much in the way of chances in the first half due to the intensity of both defenses. Jose Garcia of Honduras had the best chance at a score in the 8’, but was unable to land his shot on target.

For El Salvador, their closest look at a goal in the first 45 minutes was a free kick in the 42’ that Joshua Perez fired over the crossbar.

The team talk at halftime in the Honduras locker room was no doubt inspirational, as 16 seconds into the second stanza, Douglas Martinez had the game’s first goal with a flying header off a Luis Palma cross that gave Honduras a 1-0 lead.

El Salvador would battle back though and in the 64’ the Cuscatlecos pulled level 1-1. A long-range effort from Enrico Duenas tipped off the fingertips of Honduras GK Alex Barrios, allowing the charging Marvin Marquez to surge forward and head into goal.

Honduras were on the verge of striking back for a late winner in the 80’, only to see Jose Pinto’s shot deflect off the face of El Salvador GK Mario Gonzalez. The rebound fell to Juan Carlos Obregon, whose shot from a few yards out pinged the crossbar and was ultimately cleared.

The two teams would have to settle for a share of the spoils and turn their attention to Thursday’s group stage finales, with Honduras taking on Canada and El Salvador meeting Haiti.