LOS ANGELES - Guatemala held off Honduras to grab a 0-0 draw in their Gold Cup Group B opener despite finishing the game with nine men.
Defenders Gustavo Cabrera, in the 61 minute, and Henry Medina, in the 78th, were sent off but still Guatemala managed to deny their Central American rivals all three points during a spirited and physical match that went against the early Gold Cup trend of one-sided contests.
Goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez, who needed treatment on multiple occasions in the second half, kept his Guatemala defense organised but had to withstand some heavy Honduras pressure in the final minutes to secure the point.
"This tie feels like a win," Jerez told reporters after he was named man-of-the-match.
Honduras, who captured the Gold Cup in 1981 and were considered dark horses to break up the recent monopoly of Mexico and the United States, had some good chances to net the winning goal with attacker Carlo Costly looking dangerous.
But Honduras, who competed at last year's World Cup in South Africa, could not make the scoring connection much to the frustration of head coach Luis Fernando Suarez.
"The way we played, we definitely didn't deserve to win," Suarez told reporters. "The players who were supposed to create did not create the space."
Earlier in Group B, Jamaica, who Guatemala face in Miami on Friday, thrashed Grenada 4-0 to top the standings.
Honduras will play Grenada in their second group match also in Miami on Friday.comments