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Haiti eliminate Honduras from Gold Cup behind Nazon’s first-half goal

Haiti used a first half goal from Duckens Nazon to knock Honduras out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup Monday night, collecting a 1-0 victory in Kansas City that left them very much in position to reach the last eight of the competition.

Marc Collat’s team came out aggressively and grabbed their advantage, then defended effectively against a side which came into the tournament with hopes of something much better, but produced very little in the end. Haiti won’t know their final placement in Group A until after the USA-Panama match that completed the Monday twin bill in Missouri (live, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, 9:30 p.m. ET) and they might have to wait until all of group play is completed before knowing where they might play next in the quarterfinals.

The Haitians capiltalized on their fast start, going ahead in the 14th minute when Nazon won the race with Maynor Figueroa on the right side of the box and fired across his body past Donis Escober to find the far post. Honduras did not react well to the counter, Kervens Belfort rising to head the ball forward and Nazon ruthless with his finish as Escober, too far off his line, was out of position to deal with the shot.

Haiti lost the very active Belfort nine minutes later when he landed awkwardly twisting something in his left leg — it appeared to be either his knee or ankle which buckled. Jean Maurice had to take over the striker’s role in the 25th minute but the Haitiens were able to survive the loss of a key front runner.

Honduras gave the ball away far too easily to be able to build effective attacks, their midfield especially culpable in surrendering possession. Things got a bit better after the interval, but the lack of true urgency was inexplicable from a side that had been expected to contend in this tournament after emerging as a regional power at the Olympic and World Cup level.

The Hondurans should have been level in the 58th minute when Eddy Hernandez walked in alone from a defensive gaffe, but he was unable to beat Johnny Placide with the gilt-edged opportunity. Placide was good a couple of minutes later to touch Mario Martinez’ attempt past his right-hand post, but Honduras failed to raise its pace to the level necessary to get back into the match.

Hernandez had another look in the 71st minute but Placide touched his drive from the top of the box over the bar and the Hondurans could do nothing with the resulting corner, the story of the night for Jorge Luis Pinto’s disappointing side.

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