French Guiana stunned the soccer world on Tuesday night as they managed to push Honduras in their Gold Cup match at BBVA Compass Stadium as they held Honduras scoreless.
They shocked the world from the moment the team sheets were released and French legend Florent Malouda was in the starting XI for French Guiana. There is some doubt about Malouda’s eligibility for the French Guianese national team given he has previously represented another national team. This could lead to not just French Guiana forfeiting this match but potentially being disqualified from the whole tournament.
Honduras was phenomenally unfortunate in the 77th minute when Romell Quioto, playing on his home ground, went down in the box. There appeared to be contact as the keeper slid out to get the ball and took Quioto out in the process, but the Cuban referee disagreed, giving Quioto a yellow card for simulation.
Unsurprisingly Honduras was dominating the early stages of the match, holding a lot of the ball, but they couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net against a strong French Guiana defence. There was a certain air of inevitability around the match, but French Guiana was determined to hold out and keep the match a contest.
Despite the large percentage that Honduras had, they were struggling to create really genuine chances throughout the match. The French Guiana defence was strong with Cedric Fabien especially impressive, managing a number of strong challenges without going to ground, a big part of why the match was scoreless through the first half.
The first chance of the second half surprisingly fell to French Guiana as Sloan Privat found the space to get a shot away. The shot was well saved by Luis Lopez but the rebound fell to Privat who set up Arnold Abelenti who was offside.
In the 59th minute Honduras had a golden opportunity as Oscar Boniek Garcia stole possession and was able to force the keeper out. That then saw him cross for Carlos Discua who inexplicably put the ball over the bar.
Just after the hour mark Malouda started to make his impact felt as he made a run from midfield and shot powerfully, only to be denied by the keeper. Just two minutes later he got free on goal again, but again Luis Lopez was at full stretch to deny the World Champion.
French Guiana did a good job of slowing down the play in the final 20 minutes to try and keep Honduras out. With Honduras applying little pressure, perhaps because they knew they’d be given the match on forfeit.
The only thing stopping French Guiana from taking the lead in the 74th minute as a perfect cross found Privat. He was able to easily get to the ball from Rhudy Evans and head toward goal, beating the keeper but not the post.
Privat was again almost in with three minutes to play as Honduras let him run on the right, but his touch allowed Lopez to come out. That saw Lopez just make a save and Malouda just couldn’t get to the ball in time, letting Honduras off with a scoreless draw.