Qatar continued their unbeaten 2020 by defeating Honduras 2-0 at BBVA Stadium in Houston Tuesday evening to top Gold Cup Group D.
Honduras needed just a point to top the group but instead they will now face Mexico in the Quarterfinals on Saturday, while Qatar will face off against El Salvador.
The two sides began the game with an intensity showing each team came to win, rather than playing content for a draw, even though both would advance if that were to have happened.
Honduras set the tone early, developing possession-based sequences in Qatar's half, but nothing developed enough to pose a threat on net.
In a sudden switch of momentum, Qatar countered against the run of play and netted a tidy opening goal in the 25th minute. Fullback Homam Ahmed received the ball in a quick layoff from teammate Hassan Al Haydos and launched a shot from a tight angle into the roof of the net — a possible goal of the tournament contender.
An early substitution then came for Honduras after CF Montréal striker Romell Quioto was subbed off with a leg injury in the 26th minute, despite going down five minutes earlier. Quioto was the second Honduran attacker to go down with an injury this tournament, with former MLS star Alberth Elis being the other.
In the 39th minute, Houston Dynamo defender Maynor Figueroa brought down Qatar defender Abdelkarim Hassan in the box, giving Qatar a chance to go up 2-0 from the penalty spot. Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez came up big in the moment though, denying Qatar midfielder Akram Afif from the spot. As a result of the challenge he made, however, Figueroa suffered an injury that forced him to be removed from the match.
A frantic start to the second half eventually settled down and Qatar seemed to be in control once again, but a series of shots and a sequence of possession saw Honduras find their drive once more. A sold-out BBVA Stadium was roared Honduras on as they pressed and pushed and pushed over the final 25 minutes, but Qatar's defense remained resilient.
Then in the final minute of stoppages time, after Honduras had pushed nearly all of their players forward for one final attack, Qatar gained possession of the ball and went on a 3v1 counter, with midfielder Abdelaziz Hatem finding the back of the net to score Qatar's second of the evening and ninth goal of the tournament.
- 25' - QAT - Homam Ahmed
- 90+4 -QAT - Abdelaziz Hatem
- THE BIG PICTURE: It's time that people seriously start considering Qatar as a contender to win this tournament. They put on an absolute clinic against Honduras on both ends of the pitch. Their finishing can be improved, but their back-five works so well with their wingbacks joining the attack and their midfielders are all on the same page when countering. They are a cohesive and dangerous side and Concacaf powerhouses will need to be on the lookout in the Knockout stages. For Honduras, it was an incredibly unfortunate loss. Two veteran players exited with an injury in the first half, their manager Fabian Coito tested positive for COVID-19 two hours before the match and they lost their star player, Alberth Elis, to injury during Matchday 2. They put up a great fight against a very talented Qatar side, but couldn't find a goal in the second half. If they're to advance in the knockouts, it's going to take a full-team effort against a very talented Mexico team.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez's penalty-kick save in the 39th minute.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Homam Ahmed. The Qatar defender scored the game-winner early in the first half and played a crucial role in keeping a clean sheet against an energetic Honduran side.
- QAT: Saturday, July 24 vs. El Salvador | 7:30 pm ET | FS1 | Concacaf Gold Cup Quarterfinals
- HON: Saturday, July 24 vs. Mexico | 10 pm ET | FS1 | Concacaf Gold Cup Quarterfinals