Honours even for Honduras, Morocco
Honduras and Morocco kicked off their Men’s Olympic Football Tournament campaigns with an entertaining 2-2 draw in Group D.
An enthusiastic crowd at Glasgow’s Hampden Park were treated to an open and end-to-end game, with both sides carving out plenty of chances. The first major sign of danger for Honduras came after 32 minutes, when their keeper Jose Mendoza was forced into a brilliant save to tip away a flashing Houssine Kharja header, which had looked destined for the bottom corner.
Morocco drew encouragement from that near miss, though, and seven minutes later they took the lead with a tremendous opening goal, slammed home from 20 yards by Abdelaziz Barrada after the ball had been cushioned into his path by an intelligent Zakaria Labyad header.
Pim Verbeek’s side were just about worthy of their lead at the interval, but it was Honduras who started the second period better and it was no surprise when they equalised within 11 minutes of the restart. Maynor Figueroa was the goal’s architect, charging forward from left-back and, with the Morocco defence continuing to back off, firing in a low, left-footed shot. It wasn’t Figueroa’s cleanest strike, and the ball looked to be trundling safely into the arms of keeper Mohamed Amsif, but Jerry Bengston had other ideas and stuck out a boot to divert the ball away from the committed keeper and into the net.
Bengston was in the mood now, and just nine minutes later he doubled his and Honduras’s tally to turn the scoreline on its head. This goal came from the penalty spot, slotted coolly down the middle after Yassine Jabour had been correctly penalised for clipping the heels of substitute Eddie Hernandez.
Having gone from leading to trailing in such a short space of time, Morocco deserved credit for their spirited response, which led to an equaliser just two minutes later. A magnificent equaliser it was too, chipped home from 16 yards by Zakaria Labyad after the highly rated Sporting youngster had spotted Amsif slightly off his line.
Verbeek’s side would have hoped to push on for all three points thereafter, but their hopes were dented by a needless red card picked up by Zakaraya Bergdich for kicking out at Mario Martinez, and both sides ultimately had to be content with a share of the spoils.