Honduras beats El Salvador to earn Olympic spot

Second-half substitute Gerson Rodas scored twice in a

goal-filled overtime, giving Honduras a 3-2 victory over El

Salvador on Saturday in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Olympic

qualifying tournament.

Honduras earns its second straight Olympic berth and third since

2000. El Salvador, the surprise Group A winner, has not qualified

since 1968.

”There were a lot of doubters in our country,” Honduras coach

Luis Fernando Suarez said. ”Our own fans were nervous and didn’t

really trust that we could accomplish the goal. This is something

to be very proud of.”

Rodas scored in the 101st minute to put Honduras up 2-1, but

Edwin Sanchez – another substitute – equalized in the 106th when he

snapped home a header from just right of the penalty spot on a

cross from Xavier Garcia.

That set the stage for Rodas’ game-winner in the 115th, when he

ran onto D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar’s cross from the right

corner and headed it inside the left post.

”We are real happy,” Najar said. ”It’s an important game for

us to win. I don’t have words to describe this moment.”

Antony Lozano scored in the first minute for Honduras, but

Milton Molina equalized in the 77th for El Salvador.

”I am proud of my guys and what they put into it,” El Salvador

coach Mauricio Alfaro said. ”They are a top level team, it’s a

tough loss, but I am proud of my guys.”