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Tuesday, June 25 2019 @ 03:22 AM UTC

Thomas leads Honduras to 1-0 over Panama in first round of Olympic qualifying

Sports Section The Canadian Press - TAMPA, Fla. — Hendry Thomas scored in the 90th minute to lead Honduras to a 1-0 win over Panama in the first round of Group A play in the 2008 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifier Tuesday. Left unmarked 10 yards in front of the goal, Thomas took a pass from Oscar Morales, turned and fired with his right foot into the left side of the net. Not long after his score, Panama nearly tied it. But in stoppage time, a free kick from 25 yards out by Nelson Barahona hit the crossbar. Gabriel Torres attempted to knock in the rebound, but his shot was punched over the net by Honduras keeper Kevin Hernandez to preserve the lead. (more)

With the win, Honduras improved to 1-0 in the Group A round robin. Panama is 0-1.

The top two teams in the group, which also includes Cuba and the United States, advance to the March 20 semifinals in Nashville along with the top two from Group B. The two finalists there earn a berth in the Summer Olympics, Aug. 6-23 in Beijing.

Canada opens its qualifying with a Group B match against Mexico on Wednesday.

The teams combined for only 12 shots on goal and many of the best scoring chances came in the opening half.

One Panama opportunity came in the 21st minute, moments after a yellow card against Honduras defender Erick Norales. But a free kick from 30 yards out that was passed to Roman Torres resulted in a header that sailed well high of the net.

About three minutes later, a Honduras shot by Jefferson Bernardez, who took a cross from attacker Rigoberto Padilla, was just wide.

In the 34th minute, Padilla appeared to find another teammate in scoring position, but Panama keeper Jose Calderon dove to the ground and knocked the ball away before Jose Cesar Guity could get to it.

Calderon also stopped a Honduras shot from about 15 yards out in the second minute of play.

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