CONCACAF: Honduras win Copa for a third time
The Copa Centroamericana has been decided in favour of Honduras who defeated record champions Costa Rica in the final by two goals to one. Walter and Emil Martinez scored the goals as Honduras secured their first title win since 1995 and both finalists secured qualification for the CONCACAF Gold Cup along with El Salvador, Panama and Guatemala.
The 5th/6th place play-off took place on Friday with Guatemala edging it 2-1 against Nicaragua with Gregory Ruiz and Manuel Leon getting on the score sheet for the victors. The semi-finals, played on the same day, saw Honduras leave it late to secure a 2-0 win over El Salvador thanks to Johnny Leveron and Marvin Chavez’s goals in the last thirteen minutes of the match. Tournament hosts and defending champions Panama were hopeful of a second consecutive appearance in the final but came unstuck against Costa Rica who, with the game finishing 1-1 after 120 minutes, prevailed via a penalty shoot-out with a 4-2 win.
This set up a final between Costa Rica and Honduras, who were previously successful in this competition sixteen years ago after consecutive wins in the tournament. After the final had begun it took only eight minutes for Honduras to take the lead when Walter Martinez guided the ball home. Emil Martinez doubled Honduras’ advantage in the 53rd minute but Costa Rica pulled one back through Marco Urena with seventeen minutes to go but the game would see no further goals. Honduras finally got their hands on a third title triumph whilst Costa Rica will have to wait at least another two years before attempting to increase their record number of tournament wins.
The list of qualifiers for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, to be played from June 5-25 in the United States, is now complete: