PANAMA CITY, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Honduras beat ten-man Costa
Rica 2-1 to win the Central American Cup on Sunday - the third
time they have clinched the regional title.
Honduras, who had not won the competition since 1995, took
the lead in the eighth minute of the final with a close-range
effort from Walter Martinez.
Costa Rica, six times winners of the Cup, enjoyed the better
possession but sank a further goal behind in the 53rd minute to
a lovely curling free-kick from Emil Martinez.
The Costa Ricans then found themselves a man down after
Dario Delgado was dismissed for an elbow on Walter Martinez but
that incident sparked 'Los Ticos' into action and they applied
some intense pressure.
Marco Urena pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute with a
half-hit low shot from the edge of the area which sneaked past
unsighted Honduras keeper Noel Valladares.
The competition also served as the region's qualifying
tournament for June's CONCACAF Gold Cup that will be held in the
Five teams from Central America qualified - the two
finalists, beaten semi-finalists Panama and El Salvador and
fifth place Guatemala.
The 12-team Gold Cup will also feature Caribbean nations
Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Cuba and Grenada and North American
automatic qualifiers Canada, Mexico and the United States.
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