Honduras shocks, advances in Copa America

MEDELLIN, Colombia, AP

Honduras pulled off the biggest shocker of the young Copa America tournament Thursday, defeating Uruguay 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. A goal by Amado Guevara six minutes from full time propelled the Hondurans into second place in Group C, giving them the dubious honor of meeting Brazil in the next round. Uruguay fell to third and will face Costa Rica, which trounced winless Bolivia 4-0 earlier Thursday to take first place in the group. The big loser was Ecuador, the third-place finisher in Group A. The Ecuadoreans needed Uruguay to win its match in order to qualify, but are now eliminated. Although Honduras was coming off a 2-0 upset over Bolivia, few expected a repeat. After all, Uruguay was a 14-time winner of the tournament, while Honduras was a last-minute replacement with no tradition, riddled with injuries and missing its top stars. But that didn’t faze the Hondurans who stymied the Uruguayan offense and played a counterpunching game that finally paid off. Honduras threatened first when Guevara sent a free kick through the wall and forced goalie Adrian Berbia to make a diving save. Uruguay slowly took control of the midfield and pressed the Hondurans in their own end. Captain Joe Bizera sent a header screaming over the bar on a corner kick. Striker Carlos Morales tested goalie Noel Valladares from long range, then just missed the left post from 18 meters (20 yards) out. Uruguay’s best chance came on a free kick from the left side by Rodrigo Lemos that sailed across the goal mouth, hit the far post and bounced out. Honduras woke up near halftime. Danilo Turcios collected a rebound after a nice play by Ricky Garcia and fired a point-blank shot from the top of the goal box, but his shot sailed over the bar. After the break, it was more Honduras. Saul Martinez, the team’s most dangerous striker, rebounded a drive off the crossbar in the 49th minute. Two minutes later Bizera was sent off with his second yellow card. Uruguay gamely fought back and Morales forced Valladares to an excellent reflex save with a shot to the near corner from the side of the box. But in the 79th minute, Sebastian Eguren was also shown the red card, reducing Uruguay to nine men. Earlier, Paulo Cesar Wanchope again commanded the Costa Rican attack as the “ticos” capped an unbeaten first round with fireworks. The Manchester City striker scored two goals and added an assist to take the lead in the tournament scoring race with four goals. The game started slowly, with Costa Rica controlling the action against a cautious Bolivia but unable to mount a serious scoring threat. Bolivia’s Limberg Gutierrez experimented from 25 yards and rebounded a shot off the goal post skittered in front of the goal, but there were no Bolivians nearby to capitalize on it. Julio Cesar Baldivieso and Roger Suarez Sandoval also threatened, as Costa Rica looked on passively. Then Wanchope stepped in to take a cross in close, fight off two defenders, stumbled and push the ball toward the goal as he fell. Defender Raul Justiniano appeared to touch it last, but Wanchope was credited with the goal. Costa Rica’s Ronald Gomez took a shot that hit the crossbar and allowed the ball to bounce out to Rolando Fonseca, who fired a shot that defender Marcelo Carballo cleared off the line with goalie Carlos Arias beaten.