Honduras overcome Canada in Montreal
The Canadian Press
It took only 11 minutes of loose play to push Canada's World Cup hopes into a deep hole.
Ramon Nunez scored twice early in the second half, as Honduras came from a goal down to defeat Canada 2-1 in a qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup tournament at Montreal's Saputo Stadium on Saturday night.
Canada, which has made it to the World Cup only once in 1986, has taken only one point from two home matches to start its qualifying group play and now must travel to powerful Mexico for its next match on Wednesday.
"It was lost in the second half," said Canadian captain Paul Stalteri. "We have four games left to play, and even though three of them are away games, we still have a chance."
Adrian Serioux scored four minutes into the match for Canada, which had played Jamaica to a disappointing 1-1 draw in the opening match on August 20 at BMO Field in Toronto.
Honduras, which lost its opening game 2-1 to Mexico, picked up three points for the win over Canada. Mexico leads the group with six points after a 3-0 win over Jamaica on Saturday.
As Nunez scored, at least half the crowd of 12,338 erupted in celebration, waving blue and white Honduran flags, while the other half watched in stunned silence.
"It was like being at home," said Honduras' Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda. "It was a very important win for us, especially after what happened in Mexico."
It was an entertaining game with chances at both ends, despite a bumpy pitch torn up with divots after a day of heavy rain.
Canada got exactly the start it wanted when they forced a corner kick in the fourth minute. Patrice Bernier played a perfect cross to an unmarked Serioux that the central defender headed past Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
More chances followed, but Tomasz Radzinski was bodychecked off a ball near the far post and crashed into advertising boards, ripping a deep cut in the small finger of his right hand. Radzinski went for treatment and Canada played seven minutes with 10 men before he was substituted by Ian Hume, who struggled to perform on the left side. There was no foul called on the play.
"I think Tomasz's injury really hurt us," said Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell. "He was looking sharp on the left side and that was something we wanted to key on."
Dwayne de Rosario looked to be in on a breakaway in the 43rd minute, but it was ruled just offside, and Ali Gerba headed a cross from Stalteri off the near post in first-half stoppage time.
"It was a game of two halves," said Stalteri. "We controlled the first half and probably should have had a second goal, and maybe even a third goal.
"It was really disappointing how we came out in the second half - really flat."
Only two minutes into the second half, Canada turned the ball over at midfield and Nunez pushed a pass to David Suazo and then drilled the return pass from the on-loan Benfica striker past Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirshfeld.
In the 56th minute, another turnover allowed Suazo to find Nunez alone in at the edge of the Canadian penalty area for the game-winner.
Canada's chances of equalizing were compromised when Bernier was sent off in the 73rd minute after earning his second yellow card in a three-minute span for a tackle from behind on Toronto FC midfielder Amado Guevara.
Bernier, playing in front of his home crowd, was furious with the Costa Rican officials after the match.
"The second one was a foul, but there's no way it was a yellow card," he said, adding that "the Central American referees are going to be even worse when we play down there."
There were certainly several questionable calls, but when asked if the score reflected the play, Mitchell said "I can't argue with the result, to be honest."
Rob Friend went on for Gerba in the 64th minute and Jim Brennan replaced Hume in the 85th minute.
Canada had two changes from the starting XI that started against Jamaica, with Hirshfeld in for Pat Onstad in goal and Gerba replacing Friend in attack.
1.Lars Hirschfeld; 3.Mike Klukowski, 5.Richard Hastings, 6.Julian de Guzman, 7.Paul Stalteri, 8.Patrice Bernier, 9.Tomasz Radzinski (17.Iain Hume 22', 11.Jim Brennan 86'), 10.Ali Gerba (16.Rob Friend 64'), 13.Atiba Hutchinson, 14.Dwayne de Rosario, 15.Adrian Serioux
Subs not used: 18.Pat Onstad, 2.Ante Jazic, 4.Kevin McKenna, 12.Dejan Jakovic
18.Noel Valladares; 2.Osman Chavez, 4.Hendry Thomas, 5.Victor Bernardez, 6.Sergio Mendoza (14.Oscar Garcia 86'), 7.Amado Guevara, 8.Wilson Palacios, 9.David Suazo, 10.Ramon Nunez (3.Miguel Castillo 77'), 12.Emilio Izaguirre, 13.Carlos Costly
Subs not used: 1.Victor Coello, 11.Milton Nunez, 15.Saul Martinez, 16.Edgar Alvarez, 17.Marvin Chavez