Football: Bengtson lifts Honduras over US

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras: Jerry Bengtson scored in the 79th minute to give Honduras a 2-1 victory over the United States on Wednesday in the North American qualifying final-round opener for the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

The New England Revolution striker knocked in the decider, aided by a blunder from a US defensive unit with relatively few World Cup qualifying caps while American veteran Carlos Bocanegra was watching from the bench.

Juan Carlos Garcia netted a spectacular bicycle kick for Honduras to equalise in the 39th minute after the visitors had seized the lead on a goal by Tottenham's Clint Dempsey in the 36th.

The critical stretch began when Oscar Garcia pushed the ball past US defender Geoff Cameron, who plays for Stoke City in England.

US goalkeeper Tim Howard, who plays for English side Everton, came after the ball but Garcia flicked the ball past him into the empty penalty area where an onrushing Bengtson kicked it home before a sliding Omar Gonzalez could stop him.

Juan Carlos Garcia, a 24-year-old left back, made a spectacular bicycle-kick goal in the 39th minute that pulled Honduras level 1-1 at half-time.

Maynor Figueroa took a centering pass on the chest and deflected the ball into the crowded heart of the penalty area, where Garcia made an incredible somersault and followed with a hammering kick past Howard.

Dempsey put the Americans ahead 1-0 by taking a perfect lob centering pass from Jermaine Jones in full stride while leaping into the air on a run midway through the penalty area.

Without an instant's pause, Dempsey blasted the ball past Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares to open the scoring.

Other regional qualifiers on Wednesday find Jamaica at Mexico and Costa Rica at Panama.

The three top teams after Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) round-robin matches will qualify for Brazil. The fourth-place team will face a team from Oceania for another berth.

- AFP/de

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