Antony Lozano (kneeling) celebrates with teammates after scoring the goal that gave Honduras a 1-0 win in the 2014 Central American Cup's match for fifth place over Nicaragua, putting it into the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup playoff against French Guiana. (Photo: Mexsport)
MIAMI – For the first time since 2003, a playoff for a CONCACAF Gold Cup berth will be contested, when French Guiana hosts Honduras on Wednesday at the Stade Municipal Dr. Edmard Lama in Remire-Montjoly, a suburb of the capital Cayenne.
The encounter will kick-off a total-goals, two-legged series that will conclude on March 29 at San Pedro Sula’s Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
Honduras has qualified for the Gold Cup on 11 occasions, while the French Guiana is looking to make its debut.
Both sides were handed the lifeline following fifth-place finishes in their respective regional qualifying competitions.
The Hondurans narrowly defeated Nicaragua 1-0 in the match for fifth place at the 2014 Central American Cup. Antony Lozano’s goal in first-half stoppage time proved to be the difference.
French Guiana secured fifth place at the 2014 Caribbean Cup, nipping Martinique for the best third-place record from the two final-round groups (+1 to -1).
Honduras has previous Gold Cup playoff experience, defeating Trinidad & Tobago (2-0) and Martinique (4-2) in 2003 to ignite a run of six straight appearances in the Confederation’s showpiece event for national teams.
Here’s a look at previous Gold Cup playoffs:
Participants: Cuba, St. Kitts & Nevis
Date/Place: July 15, 1997, in Trinidad & Tobago
Result: Cuba 2, St. Kitts & Nevis 0
Participants: Canada, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti
Dates/Place: October 6-10, 1999, in Los Angeles, California, USA
Results: October 6, 1999: Canada 0, Cuba 0; El Salvador 1, Haiti 1 …. October 8, 1999: Canada 2, El Salvador 1; Cuba 0, Haiti 1 …. October 10, 1999: Canada 2, Haiti 1; Cuba 3, El Salvador 1
Qualifiers: Canada, Haiti
Participants: Cuba, Panama
Dates/Place: July 29 - August 1, 2001, in Panama City, Panama
Result: July 29, 2001: Panama 0, Cuba 0 …. August 1, 2001: Cuba 1, Panama 0
Participants: Honduras, Martinique, Trinidad & Tobago
Dates/Place: April 23-27, 2003, in Fort-de-France, Martinique
Results: April 23, 2003: Martinique 3, Trinidad & Tobago 2 … April 25, 2003: Trinidad & Tobago 0, Honduras 2 … April 27, 2003: Honduras 4, Martinique 2
Qualifiers: Honduras, Martinique