Published November 15, 2012
HOUSTON – Donis Escobar made a last-minute save for Honduras to preserve a 0-0 tie with Peru in an exhibition game Wednesday night.
Off a loose ball in the 90th minute, Peru midfielder Rinaldo Cruzado mustered a volley from just outside the 18-yard box that Escobar saved with a quick dive to his right.
Escobar finished with five saves for Honduras, which was outshot 10-2 and tallied just one shot on goal.
"There's no doubt Escobar has the capabilities to be a national team-caliber player," Honduras manager Luis Fernando Suarez said. "I have complete confidence in him."
The match was played at BBVA Compass Stadium before a festive crowd of 9,142 that was heavily pro-Honduras. It marked the 2012 finale for two teams vying for a spot in the 2014 World Cup in their respective confederations.
Suarez and his Peru counterpart Sergio Markarian fielded mostly inexperienced lineups as both test young talent ahead of qualifying games in 2013 and beyond.
"Result aside — I think the stats clearly show we had six or seven scoring chances against none by the opponent — I am pleased with the way my team responded," Markarian said. "Despite having only one training session, we had a team that displayed order on the field and total commitment."
Suarez said Peru tested Honduras for the length of the match, making his job easier.
"It helped me see where we are doing well and what areas we need to improve," Suarez said. "This experiment allowed me to come away with many conclusions."
Prior to Cruzado's 20-yard shot, Peru forward Daniel Chavez had the best scoring chance of the second half, sprinting some 15 yards before having his right-footed shot stopped by Escobar in the 72nd minute.
"We ran a lot; I think we showed we recognize we must work to earn a spot," Cruzado said. "We left it all on the field."