Venezuela tops Honduras in Pinto debut

Action from the international friendly between Venezuela and host Honduras (white jersey) on February 4, 2015, in San Pedro Sula. (Photo courtesy of Diario El Heraldo)

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Despite a late rally, Honduras fell in Jorge Luis Pinto’s debut as head coach, losing 3-2 to visiting Venezuela on Wednesday at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.

The South Americans fended off a late rally that saw the host nearly climb all the way back from a three-goal deficit after Antony Lozano and Juan Pablo Montes struck in the final 10 minutes.

Richard Blanco netted the first goal in the 21st minute, slotting home from the edge of the six-yard box off a pass delivered from the right side of the box by Romulo Otero.

Pinto made a pair of changes at halftime, bringing on Wilmer Crisanto and Jorge Claros for Arnold Peralta and Bayron Mendez, respectively.  Those introductions proved useful, but Venezuela extended its lead nonetheless.

In the 51st minute, Archimedes Figuera chipped softly over goalkeeper Donis Escober from six-yards out to double the advantage.

Otero set-up what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 76th minute, using quickness and strength to burst into the right side of the Honduran area.  Once free, the 22-year-old Caracas FC midfielder found Edder Farias, whose right-footed backheel from four-yards out deflected off Escober and looped agonizingly over the line.

Lozano got Honduras on the scoreboard in the 80th minute with a backheel of his own, redirecting Bryan Acosta’s long-distance attempt off a cleared corner kick.

With only seconds left in normal time, Montes made it 3-2, tapping home from two-yards out after Mario Martinez’s right-sided corner kick was misjudged by goalkeeper Alain Baroja.

The sides will meet again on February 11 in Barinas, Venezuela.