- Costa Rica will have to wait to qualify after Mexico draw
- Panama in the automatic qualification position after home win
- Bobby Wood earns USA crucial point in Honduras
THE DAY REPLAYED – Costa Rica’s quest to secure qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ will have to wait until October after they were held at home by Mexico on Tuesday evening.
Panama moved into the automatic qualification places after an emphatic victory over Trinidad and Tobago, while USA left it late to earn a valuable point in Honduras in the day’s early kick-off.
FIFA.com reviews the action from Matchday 8 in the Hexagonal stage of CONCACAF zone World Cup qualifying.
Match of the day
After their impressive win over USA in New Jersey on Matchday 7, there was plenty of anticipation in Costa Rica that Los Ticos could complete the job with a win over Mexico, who had already secured their spot at Russia 2018 after beating Panama on Friday.
However, Juan Carlos Osorio’s side were in no mood to be generous in San Jose and took a half-time lead through a Cristian Gamboa own goal. The central Americans pressed forward after the break and were rewarded on 83 minutes when Marco Urena made it three goals in two matches with a spectacular volleyed finish. Costa Rica almost claimed victory in injury time, but substitute Johan Venegas’s fine effort struck the post.
A late equaliser by substitute Bobby Wood earned USA a share of the spoils against hosts Honduras, who led through a Romell Quioto strike just before the half-hour mark. It was an important result for the Stars and Stripes following the home defeat to Costa Rica on Friday.
That draw in San Pedro Sula allowed Panama to leapfrog into third place after a convincing home display against struggling Trinidad and Tobago. Gabriel Torres scored the winner late in the first half for Los Canaleros before a Carlyle Mitchell own goal doubled Panama’s advantage. Hernan Dario Gomez’s outfit sealed victory with a late strike from substitute Abdiel Arroyo.
Player of the day
*Bobby Wood (USA)
*Trailing 1-0 late in the match, USA were in need of some inspiration to avoid another costly defeat. Coach Bruce Arena turned to Hamburg striker Bobby Wood, who replaced Darlington Nagbe for the final quarter of an hour. Though it was not the tidiest of finishes, Wood’s 85th-minute equaliser could go a long way to ensuring the Stars and Stripes will be on the plane to Russia next year.
What they said
“It’s a pity because I think the team played very well and dominated in many facets of the game. We had an advantage and we should have been able to hold on. It is a horrible feeling, but we will continue. We hope that we can win the next six points.” Honduras striker Antony Lozano after his side’s 1-1 draw with USA