Mexico looked determined not to deliver another disappointing result in the Hexagonal at the start of its match against Honduras, but El Tri gave away a two-goal lead and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
After playing Jamaica to a 0-0 draw at Azteca last month, the Mexicans needed to start building momentum for the remainder of the CONCACAF 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. This is exactly what the team appeared to be doing at the start of this match.
The Honduran back line was helpless in stopping Andres Guardado's cross in the 28th minute from finding Javier Hernandez's head. When the Manchester United star gets to a ball just yards away from goal, he rarely misses, and this was no exception.
El Tri took a 1-0 lead into halftime and kept pressing when play resumed. After winning a free kick near the touchline, Carlos Salcido swung a ball in the box, and a predictable player ended up on the end of it. Hernandez's outstretched foot got enough of a touch on the ball to push it past Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
The hosts did not fold after this and continued to push forward and create chances. A well-placed corner kick allowed Carlos Costly to rise above the Mexican defenders and cut the deficit in half in the 77th minute.
Just moments later, a run from Costly led to a penalty kick for Honduras. Jerry Bengtson's poor attempt was saved by Guillermo Ochoa, but the ball bounced fortunately back to him, and the striker passed the ball into an open net to equalize.
A few furious final minutes of the match produced moments of danger for both teams, but the stalemate ultimately held.
Javier Hernandez, Mexico: A
Honduras actually did an admirable job of marking Hernandez—they did not allow him to have much space to operate in this match. He did not have many opportunities, but he certainly did not waste the chances he received.
On both goals, the service was impeccable, and Hernandez needed just a single touch to bury the ball in the back of the net. Even though he left the match early, he still made a massive impact on this contest.
Jerry Bengtson, Honduras: B
The New England Revolution striker grabbed the game-winner last month against the United States, and he was searching for another crucial goal in this match.
He showed off his strength and athleticism on multiple occasions, and he was able to get a touch on crosses into the box. But his finishes were ultimately lackluster, and he was truly lucky to get another chance after botching his penalty kick. Still, he scored the equalizer and deserves credit.
Andres Guardado, Mexico: B
Every great striker needs a creative midfielder to provide him with quality passes, and Guardado played that role to perfection in this match. Hernandez made intelligent runs, but the winger's distribution was just as important to El Tri's attack.
Throughout the first 70 minutes of this match, he was playing extremely well. But his grade suffered because he, and the rest of the Mexican attack, disappeared at the end of the match.
Carlos Costly, Honduras: A
Costly did very little in the first part of this match, but he came alive in a big way to finish the contest. He rose far above the Mexican defenders to head in a corner kick and keep his team in this match.
He was slightly fortunate to have drawn a penalty kick shortly after his goal, but he did make a run into a dangerous position and deserves credit for this.
Giovani Dos Santos, Mexico: C+
Dos Santos' performance today mirrored his career. There were brief moments of brilliance, but they were few and far between.
In the middle of his flashes of quality, he did little to contribute to his team's victory. El Tri will be hoping that an impending showdown with the United States will provide more motivation for the talented attacker to deliver a fine match.
Both teams have little time to rest and reflect on the match as they have to be back on the pitch on Tuesday.
Mexico will return to the friendly confines of Estadio Azteca to host the United States. Honduras will travel to face Panama.
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