Argentina sent packing, Honduras advance in Olympic football
Brasilia, Aug 11 (IANS) The Honduran men’s football squad reached the Olympics knockout stage once again with a 1-1 draw in Group D action against Argentina, who needed a win to avoid going home early.
Anthony Lozano delivered the crushing blow to Argentina’s hopes on Wednesday when he converted a penalty for the Central American side in the 75th minute, finally opening the scoring in a match in which both teams had earlier squandered opportunities from the 12-yard mark, reports Efe.
Mauricio Martinez got the equalizer for Argentina off a free kick in stoppage time that ricocheted off Honduras’ wall of defenders, but too little time remained to summon up the winning goal.
Earlier in the match, Argentine goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli made amends for a costly foul in the area when he stopped a penalty attempt by Honduran captain Bryan Acosta during first-half injury time.
Then on the other side of halftime, Argentina botched a penalty when Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa clanked his attempt off the left upright.
Argentina looked to dominate the action at Mane Garrincha National Stadium in the Brazilian capital against a Honduran side that is built to withstand offensive pressure and seize opportunities on the counter-attack.
And the Central Americans were rewarded for their strategy when Alberth Elis broke free and forced defender Lautaro Gianetti to take him down in the area, a play that set up Lozano’s penalty kick past Rulli.
Argentina, which won Olympic men’s soccer gold at the 2004 Games in Athens and four years later in Beijing, was a mere shadow of those teams on Wednesday.
Honduras, which reached the quarterfinals of the London Olympics, now has backed up that result by advancing to the knockout stage in Rio.
As the second-place team in Group D, it will next take on Group C winner South Korea on Aug. 13 in Belo Horizonte.