Honduras beats Mexico in Gold Cup action
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Carlos Costly scored two second-half goals -- including the winner in injury time -- to lift Honduras over four-time champion Mexico 2-1 Sunday and revive its hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Both of Costly's goals came after Mexico was reduced to 10 men in the 49th minute when Cuauhtemoc Blanco was expelled for elbowing defender Samuel Caballero in front of the Honduran goal as the two jostled for position awaiting a Mexican corner kick. Caballero nudged Blanco, who reacted with an elbow to the Honduran's midsection.
Caballero immediately fell and Costa Rican referee Walter Quezada consulted with his linesman before retrieving his red card from his back pocket.
Costly equalized in the 60th, running onto a through ball from Amado Guevara that almost reached the byline and hitting a left-footed shot into the far-side netting. He headed the winner 16 seconds into injury time off a cross from Emilio Izaguirre, leaving Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez flat-footed.
"Honduras can't dream yet about winning the Gold Cup," Costly said. "This is historic. I'm elated about the victory, but we have to keep our feet on the ground."
The loss was the third in eight games -- and first in a competitive match -- for Mexican manager Hugo Sanchez, who complained bitterly about the natural grass field at Giants Stadium after Friday night's 2-1 victory over Cuba.
"The key was Blanco's expulsion," Sanchez said. "They were provoking him the whole game. On the corner, they spat on him. They were intelligent and he fell into the trap."
The victory left Honduras, Mexico and Panama tied atop Group C with three points pending a match later Sunday between Panama and Cuba.
It was Honduras manager Reinaldo Rueda's second victory over Mexico in the Gold Cup. He was in charge of Colombia in 2005 when it defeated El Tri 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
"It was a beautiful result, but now it's history and we have to start thinking about Cuba," Rueda said.
Group C play moves to Houston on Wednesday when Mexico faces Panama and Honduras takes on Cuba.
Two teams from each of the three groups advance along with the two best third-place teams.
While hardly dominant, Mexico controlled the match until Blanco's expulsion. But the goal by Costly, who also scored in injury time in Friday's loss, invigorated the Hondurans and the Giants Stadium crowd of 68,123 -- evenly split between Mexican and Honduran fans.
Mexico had most of the possession and momentum until the 13th minute, when Carlos Pavon was brought down by goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez. The Mexican keeper appeared to get a finger to a through ball, but also tripped the Honduran captain.
Honduras failed to capitalize, however, when Guevara sent the ensuing penalty off the left post.
Mexico regained control and earned a penalty of its own in the 29th minute when left back Izaguirre kicked the ankles of Alberto Medina, bringing down the midfielder at the corner of the penalty area.
Blanco converted the penalty and Mexico appeared headed for a second victory in three days.
Sanchez used only three starters from Friday night's victory, while Honduras returned nine of the 11 players from the Panama loss.
HONDURAS: Orlin Vallecillo; Emilio Izaguirre, Maynor Figueroa, Samuel Caballero, Oscar Bonieck Garcia; Emil Martinez (Jairo Martinez, 75), Amado Guevara (Carlos Oliva, 84), Jorge Aaron Claros, Jorge Edgar Alvarez; Carlos Costly, Carlos Pavon.
MEXICO: Oswaldo Sanchez; Ricardo Osorio, Jose Jonny Magallon, Roman Morales (Franciso Rodriguez, 63); Pavel Pardo, Alberto Medina, Gerardo Torado, Jose Andres Guardado (Fernando Arce, 72); Omar Bravo, Cuauhtemoc Blanco.