Brampton’s Buchanan helps Canada get first win in Honduras in decades, ahead of Hamilton match vs. U.S.


Published January 27, 2022 at 10:43 pm

Brampton native Tajon Buchanan co-opted an opponent’s head tonight to get Canada off on the right foot as it resumes the quest to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Ahead of this weekend’s top-of-the-table border battle against the United States in Hamilton, Canada won at Honduras for the first time since 1985 — the last, and lone, time the men’s national soccer team qualified for the World Cup — with a 2-0 decision in San Pedro Sula, capital of the Central American nation. Buchanan, the midfielder who plays for Club Brugge in Belgium, gave Canada the upper hand in the 10th minute, although he was not credited with the goal.

Buchanan dribbled down the right side deep into Honduran territory and crossed the ball into the six-yard box with the intent to set up forward Cyle Larin, a fellow Bramptonite. But Honduras defender Denil Maldonado, who was marking Larin, headed the ball past goalkeeper Luis López for an own-goal.

In the 73rd, Jonathan David was sprung free from a long ball from midfielder Liam Fraser that let him split Honduras’ back line and stay onside, before he volleyball the ball over López.

Goalkeeper Milan Borjan, a Hamilton native who will be playing in his hometown in the sold-out Canada-U.S. match at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday, was credited with three saves.

With a match just three days away, and another against El Salvador on Feb. 2, Larin was lifted after playing 62 minutes. He did not have a shot on goal.

Canada (5-4-0, 19 points from nine matches) remained one point ahead of the second-place U.S. (5-3-1, 18 pts.), who won 1-0 against El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday. Third-placed Mexico (5-2-2, 17 pts.) is two points behind Canada, but fourth-placed Panama (4-2-3, 14 pts.) dropped back after a 1-0 defeat at Costa Rica (3-3-3 for 12 pts.).

The top three teams after the 14-match double round-robin between the eight nations will qualify for the World Cup in Qatar this fall. The fourth-place finisher will have a second chance in an inter-continental playoff.

The Canada-U.S. game, which is a 3 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, will be a 12,000-fans strong sellout on Sunday. Tickets sold out quickly on Tuesday, when Canada Soccer had to hold a ‘re-presale’ due to COVID-19 public health restrictions limiting the capacity of Tim Hortons Field. It will also be the first time that the Canadian men’s national team has played at Tim Hortons Field.

The national women’s team played a friendly against Germany at the Donut Box in 2018.

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