Thursday 04 August 2016, 20:53

Honduras hold on despite Algerian onslaught

Honduras began their Olympic Football Tournament campaign in positive fashion with a slim 3-2 victory against Algeria at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Romell Quioto and Marcelo Pereira had Los Catrachos in command before half-time. Sofiane Bendebka gave the African side hope, before Antony Lozano's third, which decided the game due to Baghdad Bounedjah's late goal setting up a nervy finish for Jorge Luis Pinto.

It was Bounedjah who had the first clear-cut chance of the game, darting past a couple of Honduran challenges before his progress was halted by Luis Lopez in the Honduras goal.

The Algerians were made to rue that missed opportunity, as their Central American opponents went straight up the other end and opened the scoring. Lozano was put clean through behind Les Verts' defence and Quioto pounced when the No9's shot was blocked to fire home.

Things went from bad to worse to calamitous for Pierre-Andre Schurmann's side as they lost captain Ryad Keniche to injury before Los Catrachos doubled their advantage. After a Honduran corner was cleared, the ball was knocked back in and Marcelo Pereira headed the ball from just inside the penalty area over Farid Chaal. The ball deflected in via a combination of the crossbar and the Algeria goalkeeper.

Les Verts began to apply more pressure after the break, and eventually made their vastly superior second half possession pay dividends by pulling a goal back. The impressive Bounedjah nodded the ball across the face of the Honduran goal, where Sofiane Bendebka was on hand to power a header home.

Lozano wrapped up the three points after capitalising on an error from Chaal in the Algerian goal, who spilled a routine collection from a cross into the No9's path.

After seeing an effort cleared off the line, Algeria were given a glimmer of hope with five minutes remaining, after Bounedjah bagged one for himself and Oussama Darfalou headed over from close range in the closing moments, but the Hondurans held on.

Algeria will hope to recover from this defeat on Sunday, when they face two-time gold medal winners Argentina back at the Olympic Stadium, while Honduras face Portugal earlier that same day in Rio.