HIGHLIGHTS: CanMNT stay top of the table, beat Honduras 2-0 in San Pedro Sula

Demons: Exorcised.

For the first time ever, the Canadian men’s national team won at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday, topping Honduras 2-0 to remain on top of the Concacaf table in FIFA World Cup Qualifying — with just five games left to play.

After a nervy handful of moments at the very start of the game, featuring a couple decent chances for the hosts, it was Canada who found the scoreboard first. Tajon Buchanan set up a one-two passing sequence with Jonathan David to play himself into space on the right flank, and he took it goalward himself, dribbling past a defender before sending in a low cross that deflected off Honduran defender Denil Maldonado and in for a 10th-minute own goal.

From there, the game opened up a little, with Honduras clinging to their World Cup Qualifying hopes. Both sides created some opportunities from their direct, quick play, but the two defensive units managed to hold firm when it counted.

Honduran forward Romell Quioto came close to equalizing midway through the half by outstripping the Canadian backline onto a ball over the top, but ‘keeper Milan Borjan came bravely charging from his box to clear the ball with a diving header.

Not long before halftime, the physical encounter claimed a casualty, as Canadian midfielder Samuel Piette bore the brunt of a reckless challenge and went down to injury. The CF Montréal stalwart was unable to continue, so Liam Fraser stepped in for just his third appearance of the Octagon. In the dying moments of the first half, Borjan himself seemed to take hard contact to his elbow and required attention from trainers as well, but the Red Star Belgrade man stayed in the match.

RELATED: Match Analysis: Honduras 0-2 CanMNT — World Cup Qualifying || WATCH: CanMNT coach John Herdman’s post-match thoughts following Honduras win

The second half was similarly scrappy, as both sides tried to pin the other back in transition. David looked sure to score with a 55th-minute opportunity, burning a defender on the dribble to play himself through alone, but his low shot wasn’t quite strong enough to get past the keeper.

Canadian manager John Herdman went back to his bench right on the hour mark, bringing Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio into the game for Cyle Larin and Junior Hoilett, in what seemed like a pre-planned maneuver to get the two players engaged ahead of Sunday’s game.

With about 15 minutes to go and Canada breathing nervously, two heroes stepped up when called upon for the visitors. The Hondurans won a free kick 10 yards outside the box, and the powerful strike curled its way through traffic in the box — only for Borjan to palm it away with an astonishing diving save.

A few minutes later, another hero stepped up: transitioning after another Honduras chance, Fraser spotted David floating in space near the halfway line. He launched a rocket of a pass upfield and the Lille striker brought it down smartly, outpacing his defender before chipping it neatly over the goalkeeper and into the net to make it 2-0.

With the hosts adequately deflated, Canada went on to see out the clock, holding on to their lead (with the help of another 93rd-minute diving save from Borjan) to secure a historic result and remain in pole position to qualify for Qatar 2022. With three more points, they’re now up to 19 in total from the Octagonal stage, remaining one in front of the United States and two ahead of Mexico as they prepare to host the U.S. in Hamilton on Sunday.



10′ — Denil Maldonado (OG) (Canada)
73′ — Jonathan David (Canada)


29′ — Yellow: Alfredo Mejia (Honduras)
45+1′ — Yellow: Liam Fraser (Canada)
60′ — Yellow: Diego Rodríguez (Honduras)
62′ — Yellow: Atiba Hutchinson (Canada)
68′ — Yellow: Wisdom Quaye (Honduras)
84′ — Yellow: Lucas Cavallini (Canada)