MEXICO CITY: Defender Maicon and striker Diego guided Brazil to an uninspiring 2-1 win over Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Tuesday.
Maicon opened the scoring from the edge of the penalty area in the 16th minute after Honduras' goalkeeper Victor Coello failed to clear the ball with a weak punch.
Brazil's Kaka should have doubled the lead two minutes later but his poorly-taken penalty following a foul on Robinho was saved by Coello with one hand as he dived to his right.
Despite the absence of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, Brazil's young team had showed real class in a 1-0 defeat against Mexico on Sunday but they were nowhere near as impressive against Honduras.
Although heavy rain did not help, they showed very little ambition and the fans booed the Brazilian team for much of the second half.
Kaka blew another golden opportunity in the 69th minute when, picking up on a terrible defensive pass across the penalty area, he was again denied by Coello from close range.
The Honduran team slowly fought their way back into the scrappy game but Brazil stretched their lead in the 85th minute when a poor headed clearance fell to Diego, who volleyed it home from just beyond the penalty spot.
Honduras pulled a goal back in injury time after Julio Cesar Leon went down inside the area following a challenge from Adriano before converting the penalty himself.
Brazilian players surrounded the Canadian referee Mauricio Navarro to protest the dubious penalty decision and continued complaining after the final whistle blew seconds later.
That penalty could prove costly to the Brazilians as a 2-0 win would have guaranteed that they qualify from Group A. Honduras need to beat Mexico in the final group game today to have any chance of qualifying. If they do, goal difference will decide which one of the three teams fails to qualify.
Earlier on Tuesday, Jamaica survived the 49th-minute dismissal of striker Onandi Lowe to beat Guatemala 2-0 in their Group B match in Miami.
Lowe opened the scoring in the 30th minute when he picked up a pass from Ricardo Gardner and hit a driving left-foot shot past goalkeeper Edgar Estrada.
Guatemala could have had a penalty when Carlos Ruiz appeared to be brought down in the area by Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Rickets but referee Jose Pineda of Honduras had other ideas.
The Jamaicans, more organised in attack, rarely looked troubled even after Pineda sent off Lowe for a second bookable offence.
Andrew Williams made the score 2-0 when he slotted in a 71st-minute penalty awarded after he was fouled by Edgar Valencia.
Jamaica, who lost 1-0 to Colombia in their opening match, moved to the top of the group on goal difference. – Reuters