By Robert H. Kelly
(Houston, Texas, June 13, 2007) In the first game of the final round of Group C in the 2007 Gold Cup, Honduras didn’t take long to take control of the game and basically show Cuba the exit door from the tournament.
Scoring 3 goals in the first half, Honduras defeated Cuba 5-0 in front of a mostly supportive crowd at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
Carlos Pavon (Real CD Espana) was virtually a one man show, scoring a hat trip in the 1st half.
Not even three minutes into the game, he took a pass from Carlos Costly (GKS Belchatow-Poland) in the third minute to take the score to 1-0.
The second goal of the game came in the 12th minute, as he scored an unassisted goal from in front of the net. Score: Honduras 2 Cuba 0.
His final goal of the first half came in the 42nd minute, as he took a pass from Julio Leon (Genova-Italy), scoring on a header. Score: Honduras 3 Cuba 0.
Cuba’s total lack of offense and porous defense may have been due to a lack of talent on the pitch.
A rumor began circulating around the press box by half time that four Cuban players had been benched. In addition, the rumor progressed that they were possibly trying to defect.
A statement for CONCACAF Media Officer Steve Torres stated, “This is not a matter that involves CONCACAF, and therefore we have no comment.”
Coming right back in the second half, Pavon wasted no time as he connected in the 53rd minute on another assist from Leon give Honduras an insurmountable lead of 4-0.
Both Cuba and Honduras began substituting shortly after Pavon’s fourth goal. Cuba substituted in an attempt to find anything that resembled an offense. Honduras pulled Pavon in the 62nd minute I order to give him a rest for Sunday’s match and to allow other players to get needed playing time.
The final goal of the game came in the form of a penalty kick by Amado Guevara (Chivas USA).
Honduras will now go on to face the third place team from Group A or C in a quarterfinal match on Sunday at Reliant Stadium.