Gold Cup: Honduras awaken, roll through Grenada 7-1

MIAMI — Forward Carlo Costly netted a hat trick and his strike partner Jerry Bengston netted a brace as Honduras came from behind to trounce Grenada 7-1 win in a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B match at FIU Stadium on Friday night.

With the victory, Honduras lays claim to second place in Group B with four points after two matches. Although a point would be enough to move them to the quarterfinals, the Central American side can still leapfrog first-place Jamaica with a victory against the Reggae Boyz in the final group match on Monday at Red Bull Arena. Grenada is all but mathematically eliminated from the tournament.

Grenada scored their first ever goal in the Gold Cup through forward Clive Murray in the 19th minute, but the Honduras attack exploded for five goals, including three goals in a 12-minute span of the first half. It was a show of attacking force which was welcome by Los Catrachos after a dull 0-0 tie in their opener against Guatemala.

Although Murray’s goal left Honduras momentarily shaken, they responded with an equalizer seven minutes later as Bengston enjoyed a clinical finish after beating the offside trap. With this first goal on the board, the floodgates opened for Honduras and they were able to capitalize on several easy finishes as Grenada’s back line fell into greater disarray as the game progressed.

Three minutes after Bengston’s equalizer, Costly gave Honduras the lead to stay with an easy tap-in. Bengston got lucky on his second goal of the night as his shot took a deflection and trickled into the goal for a 3-1 halftime lead. Costly waltzed into the box for another simple finish to start the scoring in the second half. He hit another tap-in before serving substitute Walter Martinez for yet another goal. Andres Mejia added insult to injury with a stoppage time strike.

The match started off in promising fashion for Honduras and it looked like it was going to be a long night for Grenada early on. The Central Americans knocked the ball around with ease, accelerating into the attack with passes through and over the Grenada back line. After the opening 15 minutes alone, Honduras already had three looks at goal.

Then came the shock goal by Grenada in the 19th minute to stun Honduras and their supporters, who filled out the stands at FIU Stadium. The Spice Boys battled to keep possession alive around the Honduran penalty area before the ball wound up on the feet of forward Delroy Facey on the right side. His cross found Murray, who struck the right corner of the goal and then collected the rebound, took a touch and slammed it home for Grenada’s first ever Gold Cup goal.

Los Catrachos were visibly shaken up by falling behind to the tiny Caribbean nation and with every missed pass the frustration was visible on the faces and in the reactions of the Honduran players.

Then, in a span of three minutes, the favorites turned the result on its head. In the 26th minute, Oscar Boniek Garcia threaded a through ball which found Bengston, who just beat the Grenada offside trap. He collected the ball near the penalty spot, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home for the equalizer.

In the 28th minute, Costly gave Honduras the 2-1 lead on an easy finish. Bengston started the play on a give-and-go pass to Boniek Garcia on the right side. The latter’s cross bypassed Bengston, who was crashing in on goal, and it also got by the Grenada goalkeeper before landing to a totally unmarked Costly, who merely had to tap it in a few feet from goal.

The goal which secured the result for Honduras came in the 37th minute, with Bengston registering his second tally of the match. This time it was Wilson Palacios who was the provider, slicing a disorganized Grenada back line with a through pass to his fellow forward. Bengston had the time to control, cut back and fire a shot which went through the hands of the Grenada goalkeeper and a Grenada defender before finally trickling into the goal.

The monologue by Honduras seemed to continue uninterrupted with the Central Americans returning to dominating the proceedings. Then, in the 56th minute, Grenada’s Delroy Facey made a solo run into the box, muscled off defender Victor Bernardez and fired a left-footed shot which was saved by Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares against the right post.

After that scare, Honduras would net four more goals as Grenada’s disorganized team defense allowed chance after chance. Costly marched in uncontested in the 67th minute after he beat the Grenada offside trap and calmly slotted home for his second strike of the match.

Costly got his hat trick five minutes later with yet another simple finish. He was the first to pounce on the rebound from a Bengston shot that struck the right post.

Grenada goalkeeper Shemel Louison made several miraculous saves on wave after wave of attacks from the Catrachos but still could not prevent two Honduran substitutes from adding their name to the score sheet as Martinez and Mejia netted goals in the closing stages.

The Group B finales will be held at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Monday, June 13 kick off with Guatemala taking on Grenada (7 p.m. ET) and Honduras battling Jamaica (9 p.m. ET).

SCORING SUMMARY:

GRE – Murray 19’
HON – Bengston (Boniek Garcia) 26’
HON – Costly (Boniek Garcia, Bengston) 28’
HON – Bengston (Palacios) 37’
HON – Costly 67’
HON – Costly (Bengston) 72’
HON – W. Martinez (Costly) 88’
HON – A. Mejia 91’

LINEUPS:
Honduras (4-4-2, left to right): #18 Noel Valladares (capt.) -- #21 Juan Carlos Garcia, #5 Victor Bernardez, #2 Osman Chavez, #16 Mauricio Sabillon -- #7 Emil Martinez (64’ #10 Ramon Nunez), #23 Edder Delgado, #6 Hendry Thomas (46’ #15 Walter Martinez), #14 Oscar Boniek Garcia -- #9 Jerry Bengston (73’ #12 Alfredo Mejia), #13 Carlo Costly
Subs not used: #22 Donis Escober, #4 Johnny Leveron, #17 Roger Espinoza, #24 Brayan Beckeles

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY:
HON - A. Mejia 91’ (caution)

Grenada (4-4-2, left to right): #30 Shemel Louison -- #15 Anthony Straker, #14 Leon Johnson (61’ #20 Shane Rennie), #3 Shannon Phillip, #5 Cassim Langaigne -- #23 Junior Williams, #11 Anthony Modeste (capt.), #9 Ricky Charles (46’ #13 Dwayne Leo), #16 Lancaster Joseph (80’ #7 Marcus Julien) -- #8 Delroy Facey, #12 Clive Murray
Subs Not Used: #1 Andray Baptiste, #6 Marc Marshall, #17 Moron Phillip, #22 Bradley Bubb

Referee: David Gantar (Canada)
Assistant Referees: Hector Vergara (Canada), Joe Fletcher (Canada)
Fourth Official: Francisco Chacon (Mexico)
Attendance: 18,057
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees