Andy Najar (white jersey) scored the equalizer for Honduras in a CONCACAF Gold Cup draw against Panama on July 10, 2015, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo: Mexsport)
FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts -- Andy Najar scored a dramatic equalizer as Honduras rallied for a 1-1 draw with Panama in the first game of a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A doubleheader at Gillette Stadium on Friday.
Panama, which now has two points after two matches, ended the game with 10 men after Luis Henriquez was shown two yellow cards late in the match. Honduras earned its first point of the competition and avoided losing its first two matches of a Gold Cup since 1998.
The United States will face Haiti in the second game of the night.
Luis Tejada gave the Panamanians a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute with his first Gold Cup goal since scoring against El Salvador on June 19, 2011. The sequence started with a clever short free kick by Gabriel Gomez to Armando Cooper, whose cross from the left side of the 18-yard box deflected off Honduran defender Henry Figueroa. Goalkeeper Donis Escobar desperately swatted at the ball, but it went directly to Tejada’s chest and over the line.
Honduras leveled in the 81st minute on a goal by Najar after Salvadoran referee Marlon Mejia ruled Armando Cooper fouled the Anderlecht midfielder in the box. After receiving some advice from Jorge Claros, Najar's penalty attempt was saved by goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who dived to his right. The ball rebounded off the crossbar and back to Najar for what amounted to a tap-in.
Carlos Discua, Honduras’ scorer in a 2-1 loss to the United States in both teams’ opening on Tuesday, had two dangerous chances in the opening 32 minutes. Penedo robbed him on both occasions, parrying away for the first Honduran corner and then getting a hand on a diving header.
The Hondurans came close to equalizing in the 66th minute, Eddy Hernandez was ruled offside after heading in the rebound of a shot off the crossbar by Mario Martinez following a free kick played short.
Both teams play their final group stage match at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas on Tuesday as Honduras meets Haiti and Panama takes on the United States.