GLASGOW, Scotland | Ten-man Morocco held on for a 2-2 draw against Honduras on Thursday in the men’s football Group D opener at the Olympics.
Morocco opened the scoring in the 39th minute with a superb volley from Abdelaziz Barrada. Honduras — which has Roger Espinoza, a graduate of Aurora’s Regis Jesuit High School on the roster, equalized in the 56th with a tap-in from Jerry Bengtson, who then converted a penalty in the 65th to give the Central American team a 2-1 lead.
“In the second half, we gave two goals away in five minutes, two times we lost the ball, but they showed good spirit for coming from 2-1 back to 2-2,” Morocco coach Pim Verbeek said. “It’s very important that you don’t lose your first game. If you have 1-0 at halftime, normally we don’t give that away.”
But Honduras’ advantage only lasted two minutes, with Morocco forward Zakaria Labyad chipping the goalkeeper from inside the area. Morocco left back Zakarya Bergdich was then shown a straight red card in the 71st for kicking Mario Martinez in the left knee, but Honduras couldn’t take advantage.
Morocco’s opener came after Bergdich’s pass was headed down by forward Zakaria Labyad near the edge of the area. The ball took a bounce before Barrada blasted it past the Honduras goalkeeper from about 20 yards.
Honduras equalized after Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa made a blazing run down the left and fired a hard shot into the penalty area that Bengtson redirected past the Morocco goalkeeper.
The first half mainly was mainly a midfield battle, with Morocco threatening several times on counter attacks.
“The result is fair,” Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez said. “But with Spain and Japan, it’s not easy to go in deep in the group for all teams.”
Honduras plays Spain next, while Morocco takes on Japan. Both matches are in Newcastle on Sunday.