Draw propel Honduras to quarter-finals
COVENTRY, England (AP) — Honduras held Japan to a 0-0 draw yesterday to advance to the quarter-finals of the Olympic football tournament for the first time, with Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda blocking what was nearly Honduras striker Jerry Bengston’s third goal of the tournament.
The Central Americans finished second in Group D and will face gold medal favourite Brazil in the last eight on Saturday. Japan, who had already qualified for the last eight, secured top spot in Group D with the draw at the City of Coventry Stadium and set up a quarter-final clash with Group C runner up Egypt. Honduras had the better of the opening exchanges, though, winning three corners in the first 12 minutes. The Japanese had the first scoring opportunity after a quarter of an hour when Yuki Otsu broke forward and shot from far out, forcing a comfortable save from Jose Mendoza in the Honduras goal.
Bengston’s near goal came seven minutes before half time, when he fired in a shot on the turn inside the box. Gonda was up to the task and dived low to save.
Two minutes later Gonda was called into action once again, this time stopping a long-range free kick from Maynor Figueroa.
Japan continued to have the majority of possession in the second half, but had little to show for it, with Takashi Usami’s 80th minute free kick the only effort to bring a real save from Mendoza.