23 March 2013 06:00
Mexico was just minutes away from winning in Honduras for the first time in nearly two decades before settling for a 2-2 draw.
Javier Hernandez appeared to be the hero for El Tri as he scored the team’s two goals either side of half-time at the Estadio Olímpico on Friday.
But Carlos Costly gave Honduras a lifeline in the 77th minute and Jerry Bengtson secured the result three minutes later.
Mexico still has yet to lose a game in the 2014 World Cup qualification cycle after outscoring opponents 15-2 in the semi-final group stage before drawing against Jamaica in the opening match of the Hex.
This one, however, may be just as painful as a loss for the Mexicans.
Hernandez put them on the board in the 28th minute as the Mexicans got off to a promising start as they looked for their first win in Honduras since May 1993. The striker got his head on the ball off a cross from Andres Guardado, who had raced down the left side of the pitch before delivering the assist.
Hernandez would find the net again nine minutes into the second half off a beautiful set piece delivery from Carlos Salcido. After breaking away from defenders in front of the net, the Manchester United man was able to reach out his right foot to redirect the ball past keeper Noel Valladares.
Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre will be kicking himself for removing his star player from the match in the 66th minute.
Honduras had their chances throughout the evening but watched a majority of shots fly well above goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa’s crossbar.
Los Catrachos had only one shot on goal before Costly headed in a corner kick with time ticking down in the match.
Only four of their 18 shots were on target, with two coming on a crazy sequence with 10 minutes to play.
After Costly drew a foul in the box after getting pressure from Maza, Bengtson was the man to step up to take the spot-kick. Ochoa was all over his attempt, sliding to his right to make the save, but Bengtson followed up on his own rebound to level the score.
Meanwhile, Luis Henriquez scored in the 66th minute for Panama as they forced a 1-1 draw against Jamaica, while the United States had Clint Dempsey to thank for their 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in a snowy Colorado.