ENI OBADINA / AIPS* in SHARJAH: Honduras venture further into uncharted waters after qualifying for the quarter-finals of a major FIFA competition for the first time courtesy of a lone-goal victory over 10 man Uzbekistan.
The second round tie in the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAWE 2013 struggled to come to life with both teams creating few chances in the opening minutes until Uzbekistan handed the advantage to Honduras when Akramjon Komilov picked up two yellow cards – and hence a red – in the space of 17 minutes.
Initially Honduras could not make the advantage count as Uzbekistan underscore their reputation as the strongest defence in the competition, having conceded only one goal in the group stage.
Needing inspiration to make the man advantage count, Brayan Valesquez took the game by the scruff of the neck in the 74th minute.
He took a return pass from Alberth Elis and went past three Uzbek defenders before providing the pass from which Jorge Bodden poke home the only goal in the match and sent Honduras on to face Sweden.
Back in Honduras “all the television shows are talking about us,” according to coach Jose Valladares after the match.
He added: ” That makes us happy and proud. When we came to UAE my plan was to reach the final. But to do that you have to go step by step. God will help us but we have to keep on working for the next step.”
Uzbek coach Dilshod Nuraliev conceded readily that Honduras deserved to win tough his team were up against it in having to play for 65 minutes with 10 men. He hoped his players would learn the disciplinary lesson, noting: “I am not saying we are out just because of referee. But he was the main man to have an impact of the result of the game.”
* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #