A standard midweek tournament weather delay got yesterday off to a rocky start, delaying Qatar and Panama’s kickoff a couple of hours and the first half certainly played out like two teams that had been hanging around in the locker room waiting for a while.
Then the second half got started and everything was back to normal in CONCACAF, with goals and penalties a plenty in a wild 3-3 draw before Honduras saw off Grenada with a late pair of goals in a 4-0 victory.
We get right to the second half and we’re just going to rattle all of these goals off. Qatar in the 48th minute got things started when Akram Afif latched on to a second ball off a corner kick for a sweet volley at close range. Three minutes later, Rolando Blackburn, an injury replacement to the Panama roster, glanced a header in for the equalizer of a short corner routine and cross from Yoel Barcenas. Qatar grabbed the lead again two minutes later in the 53rd when star Almoez Ali was played in behind the defense by Afif to slot home to the far post. Panama grabbed their second equalizer in the 58th when Blackburn crashed the front of goal to stab home another cross from Barcenas.
Then the penalties started happening, as Barcenas shouldered down Afif inside the box allowing Hassan Al Haydos to stutter step his way to a Paneka and restore the Qatar lead in the 63rd. However, not even fifteen minutes later it was Qatar giving away a penalty when Abdelkarim Hassan bundled over Abdiel Ayarza near goal and Eric Davis blasted home the penalty into the top corner for the 3-3 scoreline.
Whew. I think Qatar is fitting right in to the chaos.
In the nightcap, it was former New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson starting the scoring for Honduras early, capitalizing on some goalkeeper pressure and forcing a turnover on Grenada keeper Reice Charles-Cook before finishing up into a wide open net in the 28th minute.
Just after halftime Honduras doubled their lead when Deybi Flores sent a through ball to Edwin Solano near midfield and he raced in 50 yards to slot home to the near post. There were plenty of handball shouts here but I think the replay angle is deceptive and Solano may have been level with the far side centerback for Grenada. Regardless, Los Catrachos pressed their two goal advantage adding late insurance and goal difference via Johnny Leveron outside of the boot finish in the 85th and CF Montreal striker Romell Quioto slotting home underneath a sprawling Charles-Cook in the 87th.
Honduras’ win puts them at the top of the Group D standings after one matched played with three points while Qatar and Panama sit tied for second with a point apiece. Group D action continues on Saturday, July 17th from Houston with Grenada-Qatar at 730pm followed by Panama-Honduras at 930pm.