Business-like. Haiti put up a more fight fervent fight than many expected, but Honduras ultimately posted a very business-like win over their Caribbean nation, their 2-0 result at Red Bull Arena giving them sole possession of first place after one round of Group B play.
El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago, having drawn in the night’s opening match, sit tied for second, with Haiti occupying the group’s cellar.
Honduras got off to a near-ideal start when potentially former-Sounder Mario Martínez set up his namesake Ronny in the fourth minute, the Honduran forward’s right-footed blast from the middle of the box giving the group favorites an early lead.
That lead persisted through most of an uneventful match, with the Hondurans failing to put another shot on Frandy Montrévil until Marvín Chavez’s insurance tally in the 78th minute. The San Jose midfielder opened his left foot on a weak shot from inside the arc, a ball Montrévil either failed to pick up or misjudged as it rolled toward him. Unable to kick out in time, the Haitian goalkeeper allowed Honduras to double their lead and seal the match.
Despite the lackluster performance, the Honduras posted the first multi-goal win of the tournament, becoming the first favorite to hold serve. With Mexico still struggling and the United States recalling a diminished squad, it’s worth asking whether nations like Honduras, Panama, or Costa Rica could break through and become the fourth nation to win this tournament (Canada is the only other country besides Mexico and the U.S. to claim a title).
If the Hondurans are going to be that team, they’ll have to play better than they did tonight, because although they recorded a two-goal victory, their underlying form was not that impressive.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday