Jorge Luis Pinto’s Gold Cup with Honduras ended up nothing like his World Cup run with Costa Rica.
The architect of last summer’s thrilling run through Brazil could be at the end of the line after less than a year at Honduras after Haiti bounced an uninspired Los Catrachos in group play on Monday.
Duckens Nazon was again the goal hero for Haiti, scoring in he 17th minute on a play started by the match’s defensive hero: goalkeeper Johny Placide.
Haiti now is in prime position to advance. Their 4 points will put them in Group A’s second place unless Panama beats the U.S. tonight, and should be enough to qualify for the knockout rounds as a third-place team.
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Haiti went direct to score the opener, as a long free kick from Placide was flicked forward to Nazon by Kervens Belfort, who hit a viciously-spinnning shot bounding off the turf and past a fooled Donis Escobar.
Honduras had a good chance pushed out for a corner in the 21st minute, but Placide collected Mario Martinez’s ensuing corner. Los Catrachos didn’t do much else besides that, wasteful in possession and even lazy at times.
Haiti came into the tournament ranked No. 79 in the world, one ahead of Honduras. That does not fittingly explain the relationship between the sides, as Honduras had been two consecutive World Cup in addition to its Gold Cup successes.
The favored Hondurans found some life in the second half, but Placide was up to the task with several classy saves.