SANDRA AIGNER / AIPS in ABU DHABI: After a crushing 6-1 defeat by Brazil in the opening game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013, Slovakia had to react in their second game against Honduras. But the Central Americans destroyed their plans of victory with an equalising goal in stoppage time.  The final score was 2-2.

Honduras, spurred by their 2-1 win over hosts UAE in their first Group A game, scored first goal when Rembrand Flores won a tackle against Jakub Hromada and put the ball past the goalkeeper Martin Junas.  Slovakia were on an equal footing in the first half but did not take their chances.

After the break Slovakia set the pace and showed far more attacking prowess and Tomas Vestenicky scored twice to delight the few Slovak fans in the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.  The first goal followed a long forward pass in the 48th minute. The goal was executed wonderfully by Vestenicky who was at it again nine minutes later after a pass from within the penalty area.

Honduras created many chances but were unable to make use of them – until added time.

In the 93rd minute, after a corner, Slovakia failed to clear and Jorge Boddon scored his second goal in the tournament to take the Slovaks by surprise.  With Slovakia now on one point and Honduras on four, the Europeans will have to beat the hosts and hope for a big Brazilian win against Honduras in the last round.

Slovak coach Radislav Pecko was deeply disappointed at the last twist in the game.

He said: “I think we didn’t deserve this result. We tried even in the last minute to go for the three points but we failed. I don’t think that Honduras were better than us even if they had ball possession, because we had the advantage and we needed to keep it, that’s why we reverted to defence.”

As for the next match he said: “We have to focus on three points from the last match because we know that four points will be able to qualify us to the next round. But we don’t want to wait for the other result, we should decide our destiny.”

Honduras coach Jose Valladares thought the game and the outcome demonstrated how well his team had prepared for the tournament.

* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course in UAE with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA

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