International Football returned to BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night as El Salvador took on Haiti as the two teams built up for CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. It was Haiti who sent a strong message to their upcoming opponents as they managed a 3-1 win over El Salvador.
With the crowd support well and truly behind them, thanks to Houston’s significant El Salvadorian population, El Salvador started the match well. In the 10th minute they could have had the lead as Bonilla Nelson forced a stunning save out of Johny Placide.
Jean-Eudes Maurice should have had the opening goal in the 13th minute after a good long ball unlocked the El Salvador defence. His first touch was too heavy and that allowed Henry Hernandez to come out and make the save.
The Haitians did not have to wait long for their goal as it came off a clever set-piece move just two minutes later. Shaping to send in a big free-kick Jean Soni Alcenat simply passed it forward for James Marcelin to simply side foot the ball in to the back of the net.
It was two in the 18th minute, and again it was a set piece as the initial shot from Alecenat came off of the post. Now with the keeper stranded Jean-Eudes Maurice was able to pass it back for Duckens Nazan who chested it in.
Things got even worse for El Salvador as it was 3-0 in the 22nd minute after some horrific defending. An attempted header just went backwards allowing Maurice to easily control the ball and score with a simple finish, with the El Salvador defense in tatters.
In the 38th minute El Salvador pulled a goal back but it was in the scrappiest of circumstances, after a ball in from Bonilla Nelson, Haiti tripped on the ball. That allowed Pablo Punyed the opportunity, but his effort was tame, unfortunately for Haiti Johny Placide couldn’t get to it until it had crossed the line and El Salvador were back in the match, with the score remaining 3-1 until half-time.
Both teams came out firing in the early stages with El Salvador determined to get back in to the match, while Haiti wanted to put it out of their reach. That lead to a real end-to-end encounter as the chances really flowed.
El Salvador had much more of the ball in the second half than they did in the first but despite that they could not break through. Placide was doing well in goal for Haiti and the chances that did beat him just never looked like hitting the target.