Honduras repeated their feat of four years ago by making it to the quarter-finals of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament after a 1-1 draw with Argentina in a match defined by spot-kicks.
Bryan Acosta and Angel Correa missed penalties either side of half-time for Honduras and Argentina respectively, only for Antony Lozano to make it third time lucky. Mauricio Martinez’s injury-time goal was too little too late as the Albiceleste crashed out.
Things were finely poised before the game, with Honduras in second place and just shading the South Americans on goal difference, and that balance transferred onto the pitch for the opening stages.
That was until Giovani Lo Celso’s inch-perfect free-kick found Jonathan Calleri who side-footed wide when he would have expected better. The game burst into life and, were it not for a bold charge from aptly-named goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli, Lozano could well have put Honduras ahead.
Free-kicks were beginning to look like fertile ground for Julio Olarticoechea’s side as Correa’s cross caused trouble, eventually being back-heeled over by Leandro Vega, before the Atletico Madrid forward crafted a great chance for Calleri, who blazed over.
Lozano went closer at the other end, rising high to force a save from Rulli, who was busier still a moment later. Bringing down Alberth Elis for a penalty, he made instant amends by beating away Acosta’s effort. The ball was placed on the same spot soon into the second period, with Calleri hauled down, but Correa similarly fluffed his lines, clipping the base of the post.
Argentina began to commit more bodies forward, Elis strode into one of the gaps left, with Lautaro Giannetti rashly diving in to bring about a third penalty. Lozano made no mistake. Chances fell both ways in the final minutes, with Honduras rattling the post, and, even though Martinez’s deflected free-kick provided hope, it was ultimately the CONCACAF side left celebrating.