Honduras earned the point required to qualify for the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying after holding Mexico to a 0-0 draw.
A win clear of third-placed Canada heading into Tuesday’s Group A clash at Estadio Azteca, Honduras knew a draw against the already-qualified Mexicans would be enough to reach the final round of qualifying.
And the Hondurans left Mexico City with the point needed as Mexico stayed unbeaten in the penultimate round of World Cup qualifying, topping the group with five wins and a draw, eight points clear of the former.
Already assured of a spot in the Hexagonal round, Juan Carlos Osorio made four changes to the team that beat El Salvador 3-1 last week, goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, Diego Reyes, Jesus Duenas and Angel Zaldivar coming in for Guillermo Ochoa, Rafael Marquez, Jorge Torres and Raul Jimenez.
As for Honduras, they brought in Jonathan Mejia and Johnny Leveron at the expense of Anthony Lozano and Bryan Acosta following their 2-1 win at home to Canada.
Honduras came out on the front foot, attacking with pace and purpose as Mexico were pegged back.
Talavera was called into action early, charging off his line to deny Alberto Elis in the fifth minute after Honduras got in behind Mexico’s defence.
The Mexican keeper then had to tip an ambitious long-range effort over the crossbar minutes later, following a wicked deflection.
Honduras continued to pose a threat up front, while Mexico were limited in their chances going forward, though they almost opened the scoring when Zaldivar managed to get a shot on goal nine minutes before half-time, but Donis Escober came out to cut the angle and make the save.
The second half was a one-sided affair with Mexico dominating proceedings.
Mexico almost hit the front 10 minutes after the interval when Javier Aquino’s glancing header flashed just wide of the post, not that it would have counted due to a close offside call.
It should have been 1-0 a minute later. Zaldivar squared a perfect ball across the six-yard box but an unmarked Hirving Lozano blazed his shot over the bar.
Escober came up big to deny Mexico in the remaining six minutes, initially failing to deal with Hector Herrera’s attempt before diving to block Andres Guardado’s close-range rebound, while Honduras were left counting their blessings after Hector Moreno somehow sent his injury-time header wide with the goal at his mercy.
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