Mexico stunned by Honduras, Panama brush Costa Rica aside as CNL quarter finals heats up

November 30 – The old order of Concacaf took a body blow in the opening legs of the Concacaf Nations League 2023/24 quarter finals.

November 30 – The old order of Concacaf took a body blow in the opening legs of the Concacaf Nations League 2023/24 quarter finals.

Honduras stunned Mexico with a 2-0 win at home, while Costa Rica were given a 3-0 thrashing at home by 2023 Gold Cup finalists Costa Rica.

In the other first round quarter finals a wasteful Jamaica lost 2-1 at home to Canada, while the US now go to Trinidad and Tobago with a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Mexico have a lot of work to do if they are to overcome Honduras in the second leg though they do have the advantage of the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

At the Gold Cup 2023 in the summer, Mexico beat the Hondurans 4-0 defeat in their opening match, a game in which the Hondurans had expected to do better.

They found better form under returning Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda who was drafted back into the Honduran set-up after the disappointing Gold Cup in July. The results have been immediate.

Antony Lozano scored for the Hondurans in the first half, while Bryan Rochez added a second in the second half. With striker Alberth Ellis fit and Luis Palma proving devastating on the counter-attack Mexico will need to watchful, especially with star goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa injured.

Mexico beat Panama in the Nations League third placed play off and the Gold Cup 2023 final in the summer, but the Panamanians are improving and their 3-0 dismantling of a Costa Rican side that is struggling to rebuild sees them on the cusp of their second final four Nations League appearance.

Panama started fast against Costa Rica with a goal by Michael Murillo on four minutes with Jose Fajardo doubling the lead in the 29thminute.  Cecelio Waterman made it three on the hour and game over. They will be expecting something similar at home.

Canada will also be looking to repeat their away win in Jamaica at home at the BMO Field, Toronto. But the Canadians were far from emphatic away from home as the Jamaicans wasted multiple chances, losing to the Canadians on home soil for the first time since 1998.

Canada opened the scoring through Jonathan David in first half added time. Shamar Nicholson equalised on 56 minutes before Stephen Eustaquio scored the winner on 85. Canada were beaten finalists in the 2023 Nations League final in Las Vegas. Jamaica have never qualified for the Nations league final four.

The US left it late to overcome a spirited Trinidad and Tobago resistance with three goals from Ricardo Pepi, Antonee Robinson and Giovanni Reyna on 82, 86 and 89 minutes in the Q2 Stadium in Austin. The US have won both the previous editions of the Nations League.

The four CNL semi-finalists will qualify automatically for the 2024 Copa America, while the two remaining spots will be decided by a play-in match between the losing quarterfinalists. The play-in match will be played in March 2024.

The semi-finals and final will be played in Arlington, Texas, in March 2024.

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