In the opening match of Group D, Honduras edged Algeria 3-2 on Thursday afternoon in Rio at Olympic Stadium.
The opening minutes of the match were cagey with both teams committing numerous fouls in an attempt to establish their presence on the match.
Algeria would create the first real opportunity in the 12th minute when Baghdad Bounedjah fired a shot just wide of the Honduran goal after a nice piece of individual skill to get himself free for a clear attempt at goal.
Just a minute later, Honduras would strike first. Forward Alberth Elise played a pass down the right side to Anthony Lozano who was making a run across the Algerian defense. Lozano headed towards goal, turned his defender, and fired a left-footed shot that was initially saved by Algerian goalie Farid Chaal. However, forward Romell Quioto was following up the shot on goal and slammed home the rebound for the 1-0 lead.
Algerian coach Pierre-Andre Schuermann was forced to make an early substitution in the 30th minute as captain Ryad Keniche picked up an injury and was unable to continue. He was replaced by defender Ayoub Abdellaoui .
Honduras would double its lead in the 33rd minute. Off a hopeful cross from defender Kevin Alvarez, defender Marcelo Pereira redirected a beautiful header from the edge of the penalty area that hit off the crossbar and bounced over the line for the 2-0 advantage. The Central American side would take that lead into the halftime break.
It was a first half with Algeria lacking quality in the final third of the field and Honduras being very dangerous on the counter attack.
Algeria started off the second half brightly with Bounedjah flashing a shot just wide of the Honduran goal in the opening minute after a clever pass from Mohammed Benkablia. The African side continued to have the better of play as the second half went on with Honduras struggling to regain the foothold it had on the game in the first half.
Algerian forward Abderrahmane Meziane was brought on in the 60th minute in place of Mohammend Benkablia in an effort to bring on a fresh scoring threat for the side that finished as runners up in the 2015 African Cup of Nations tournament. Meziane came close to getting a goal back for his side in the 65th minute as his header from a looping cross flashed just over the goal.
The momentum swing after halftime finally produced a result as in the 68th minute, Sofiane Bendekba would draw goal back for the side wearing green. Bounedjah flicked on a long throw-in to Bendekba who redirected the ball past Lopez to make the scoreline 2-1.
Completely against the run of play, Honduras would tack on its third goal in the 78th minute after Algerian keeper dropped a cross that should have been easily handled. Anthony Lozano tapped the ball into the net from short range to make the lead double again for Honduras.
However, Algeria would keep fighting and found another goal in the 85th minute after a cross into the box was brilliantly controlled and finished by Bounedjah to make it 3-2. That would be the final score of the contest as Honduras hung on for the victory, even with being totally outplayed in the second half.
After today’s exciting match, Honduras currently sits atop Group D with 3 points (+1 goal differential) while Algeria is in last place with no points (-1 goal differential). Portugal and Argentina play later on today.
Honduras’ next match is on Sunday at 2pm against Portugal in Rio while Algeria squares off vs. Argentina later on that same day at 5pm.