BUENOS AIRES - Honduras striker Carlos Pavon, architect of two famous World Cup qualifying wins over Mexico, is returning to haunt them again at the age of 35. Pavon is expected to lead the attack when the sides meet in Wednesday's 2010 World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula, having been given an unexpected chance following an injury to David Suazo. Pavon scored when Honduras won 2-1 in 1996 to record their first World Cup qualifying win over their larger neighbours from the north. Five years later, he famously notched a hat-trick which gave Honduras a 3-1 win and prompted Mexico coach Enrique Meza to resign immediately after the game. Pavon, Honduras's all-time leading scorer, has already sounded his intentions by netting in the 1-1 draw away to Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, his 50th for his country. The scenario is especially worrying for Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, whose future in the job is the subject of speculation every time his side lose. Eriksson, whose team lost to Honduras in October in a previous stage of the competition, earned a stay of execution with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica on Saturday but another defeat could still lead to his downfall. Honduras, perennial underachievers whose only World Cup finals appearance was in 1982, are bottom of the CONCACAF zone's final stage with one point from two games, although both were away from home. Mexico, who sneaked into the group on goal difference from Jamaica, have three points. "To beat Mexico, we need courage, bravery and strength and we must make them feel that Honduras must be respected when we play at home," said Pavon's striking partner Carlos Costly, who scored twice in a 2-1 win over Mexico at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2007. In Wednesday's other matches, the United States, who lead the six-team group with four points, host Trinidad in Nashville while Costa Rica entertain El Salvador in San Jose. Costa Rica, who lost a 12-game unbeaten run under coach Rodrigo Kenton on Saturday, have three points and El Salvador have two. El Salvador playmaker Eliseo Quintanilla will miss the game through suspension.
31 March 2009
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