MATCHDAY two of the CONCACAF Gold Cup gets underway on Friday night with Honduras and Panama searching for their first three-point haul. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the betting.
Honduras v Panama | Friday 23.00 | BT Sport 2
It’s been a lively opening few days from the CONCACAF Gold Cup with plenty of goalmouth action, entertaining games and goals to keep international football fans intrigued. The first six group games featured 19 goals with only one scoreless and four breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier. No cause for complaint here.
Group A returns to the centre stage on Friday night with Honduras and Panama meeting in a crunch clash, knowing a defeat could prove fatal in their race to reach the knockout stages. Both nations performed admirably in their opening encounters but neither picked up the result their displays deserved, heaping extra importance on their Foxborough encounter.
Panama were in total control of their opener against Haiti but a late goal leaked on the counter cost Hernan Gomez’s troops maximum points. Meanwhile, Honduras finished pointless after a 2-1 loss to the well-fancied USA despite causing the tournament hosts plenty of problems.
Gomez was raging with his Panama side as they failed to record a victory for the third successive game. Los Canaleros bossed possession and territory but too often their final approach was ponderous and they paid the price for not being clinical enough in and around the box. Perceived as being the USA’s biggest challengers for top spot in Group A, it was a damaging result.
On the other hand, Honduras’ highly-rated coach Jorge Luis Pinto was far from distraught with his side’s defeat to the US. Los Catrachos out-shot their opponents 16-6, boasted more possession and enjoyed the lions share of goalscoring opportunities. The lack of a big-game finisher cost Pinto’s men a slice of the points.
I was very impressed by Honduras’ display having doubted their chances pre-tournament but I’m unprepared to ignore Panama’s claims for this clash based purely on the opening fixtures. Los Canaleros were as short as 5/4 when the prices first surfaced but can now be backed at prices as big as 21/10 (BetVictor) – that’s a HUGE drift.
Panama were subject to a big drift before their opener against Haiti but there was no significant foundation to it then. They should have won that match with ease and they’re more than capable of picking up maximum points here too. At such a big price on offer, I can’t ignore their claims. Don’t forget, they’ve only suffered defeats in three of their past 13 outings and beat Costa Rica in April.
But I’m also going to have a dabble on the goals markets. Both teams showed plenty of promise in forward areas and were far from watertight defensively -that’s a decent ingredient for a goal-heavy game. Los Canaleros have now kept just two clean sheets in nine whilst Honduras’ only clean sheets in their most recent 20 internationals came against Belize, Nicaragua, French Guyana, China and El Salvador as well as Mexico in a Gold Cup warm-up – the competition favourites dominated and hit the post twice in the first-half of that goalless draw.
Both Teams To Score can be snapped up at 5/4 with BetVictor and that seems more than fair. It’s not quite a must-win match but knowing victory would give either side a huge advantage in finishing second, I’m hopeful of another entertaining encounter.
Honduras v Panama – Panama to win (21/10 BetVictor)
Honduras v Panama – Both Teams To Score (5/4 BetVictor)
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