Honduras 0-1 United States: Super-sub Siebatcheu heads USA into Nations League final

By Sports Desk June 03, 2021

Jordan Siebatcheu came off the bench and headed the United States into the CONCACAF Nations League final after a 1-0 victory over Honduras in Denver on Thursday.

Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie provided the vital assist for Siebatcheu's 89th-minute winner which decided a game of few clear-cut chances.

It means Gregg Berhalter's USA have qualified for the first-ever CONCACAF Nations League decider, where they will face either Mexico or Costa Rica in Denver on Sunday.

USA had the first genuine chance of the game when Giovanni Reyna jinked past two defenders inside the box but dragged his 10th-minute shot wide at the far post.

Honduras forward Anthony Lozano had an audacious long-range shot saved by USA and Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen shortly after.

The best opportunity of the first half fell to Honduras in the 27th minute from a deep free-kick into the box, where Alberth Elis looped a header over Steffen but was brilliantly cleared off the line by Josh Sargent.

A melee between the sides broke out with Elis claiming the ball had crossed the line as USA defender John Brooks took exception.

Werder Bremen forward Sargent had a header saved, while Chelsea's Christian Pulisic – part of the Champions League-winning side – had a chance blanketed on half-time too.

Steffen made a crucial intervention to deny Lozano early in the second half, while Elis cut inside and fired over the bar as the game slowed down in the second 45.

McKennie had a tame header saved but USA launched a 78th-minute triple substitution, with Siebatcheu among them.

Siebatcheu stooped to conquer, firing his header past Honduras keeper Luis Lopez from McKennie's headed back after Brooks' hopeful lofted ball into the box.

 

What does it mean? Relief for USA

Berhalter will breath a major sigh of relief, booking his side's spot in the decider as expected, although it was far from easy. USA have now won five of their past six games.

Siebatcheu a star on the rise

Washington-born, Switzerland-based Siebatcheu was only making his fourth appearance for the Stars and Stripes but marked it with his maiden international goal. He was coming off 15 goals on loan for Young Boys in 2020-21, before they exercised the option to buy him from Rennes a fortnight ago.

Morris caps off stellar 2019

Honduras may have cruised through the group phase but that was back in 2019. Los Catrachos have now failed to win in their past five matches since returning to international football in October last year.

What's next?

USA will learn their final opponent on Thursday when Mexico and Costa Rica meet, ahead of Sunday's decider. Honduras will play the loser in the third-place final on Sunday too.

Related items

  • Nuno defends Spurs rotation after defeat at Vitesse Nuno defends Spurs rotation after defeat at Vitesse

    Nuno Espirito Santo insisted his focus was on improving Tottenham's young players after his side suffered a 1-0 defeat at Vitesse in the Europa Conference League.

    Maximilian Wittek's second-half strike was enough to see Thomas Letsch's dominant outfit past a sorry Spurs, who have won just two of their last eight away games in Europe.

    The midfielder's left-footed half-volley also ended Tottenham's five-game unbeaten run in the Netherlands in the 21st century, while they remain winless in 2021-22 on the road across three games in European competition.

    Head coach Nuno, who opted to rest Son Heung-min and Harry Kane for the trip to Arnhem, refused to lament his side's performance as he pointed towards a busy schedule requiring rotation of his squad.

    "It was a tough match. I think we competed well. In terms of attack, I think we should finish the actions better. Some combinations were missing," the Spurs boss said.

    "I knew that the game was going to be tough. I am not here to judge the players, I am here to try and improve them. The analysis and the judgement we do it behind closed doors, like you can understand."

    Rennes sit top of Group G, five points clear of Spurs at the halfway point, while Vitesse sit in second on six points.

    However, Nuno appeared calm as he suggested his team can bounce back with their next three games in the competition as they look to make the knockout stages.

    "I think we have two games at home against Vitesse and Rennes, and then we have to play Mura. We can solve the situation of the group," Nuno said, before defending teenage forward Dane Scarlett who struggled against a three-man defence.

    "Dane is 17 years old. It is tough for him, but many of our players who are under 17 are not involved in first-team football," Nuno said. "Experience comes when he competes against top professionals like he did against Vitesse today."

  • Vitesse 1-0 Tottenham: Wittek strike downs uninspiring Spurs Vitesse 1-0 Tottenham: Wittek strike downs uninspiring Spurs

    Maximilian Wittek's second-half strike condemned an insipid Tottenham to a 1-0 loss against Vitesse in the Europa Conference League.

    Spurs had won just two of their last seven away games in European competition before Thursday and their struggles on the road showed in a timid opening 45-minute showing.

    However, the visitors were unfortunate to not go ahead after the interval at the GelreDome as Bryan Gil rifled onto the woodwork in an otherwise uneventful first hour of football.

    Nuno Espirito Santo's side, who rested Harry Kane entirely for the trip to Holland, were eventually made to pay for their lacklustre performance when Wittek drilled in from the edge of the area to end Spurs' unbeaten start in the competition and leave them third in Group G.

    Pierluigi Gollini smothered the first chance of the game as he raced out to deny Nikolai Baden Frederiksen before Jacob Rasmussen flicked narrowly wide following Wittek's corner.

    Nuno's side could not manage a shot on target in the first half but went in level at the break after Thomas Letsch's team failed to make the most of their control of proceedings.

    Spurs duly returned after the interval with greater attacking impetus, Bryan rattling the crossbar with a left-footed curler just two minutes into the second half.

    Eli Dasa then drove narrowly wide of the right-hand post before forcing another save from Gollini as Vitesse piled on the pressure just past the hour mark in a contest of limited opportunities.

    The hosts had scored in each of their last eight games and made it nine when Wittek rifled a left-footed half-volley - via a deflection off Davinson Sanchez - into the bottom-right corner with 13 minutes remaining.

    Spurs pressed on for a late equaliser that did not come, meaning their five-game unbeaten run in the Netherlands in the 21st century came to an end.

  • El Clasico: Barca v Real Madrid result will have an 'incredible' impact, says Belletti El Clasico: Barca v Real Madrid result will have an 'incredible' impact, says Belletti

    Juliano Belletti believes Barcelona and Real Madrid can make memories to last for many years in Sunday's Clasico as he recalled being on the team that swept aside the famous 'Galacticos'.

    Brazilian full-back Belletti spent three seasons at Camp Nou between 2004 and 2007, winning two LaLiga titles and scoring the winner in the 2006 Champions League final against Arsenal.

    He featured in four games against Los Blancos for the Blaugrana, winning one, losing one and drawing two.

    The 45-year-old, who is now assistant manager at Brazilian club Cruzeiro, reflected on the stature of the historic fixture and cast his mind back to his first Clasico after arriving in Catalonia.

    "Most of the best players in the world are [at Barcelona and Real Madrid]," Belletti told Stats Perform. "So, just being involved is already special. Barca and [Real] Madrid have fans all over the world. We are aware of it as football players. And when we are not involved in El Clasico, whether we are from the football world or not, we are watching this game.

    "There is top quality football, there is big rivalry. There is so much history and it is something global. It is not only about LaLiga. That's why I believe the impact of the result of this game, winning or losing, is incredible. That's all what makes this Clasico special.

    "My first Barca v Madrid was at Camp Nou in 2004. We faced 'Los Galacticos' of Real Madrid. It was very special for me to be there at that time.

    "Besides, we won that game 3-0. It was even more special as my first time playing against 'Los Galacticos' and winning the game. And even nowadays my family remembers that day."

     

    David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian striker Ronaldo were all in the Madrid team in that November 2004 game, with Samuel Eto'o, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Ronaldinho scoring for Barcelona.

    Belletti says those that feature in this weekend's game will already feel, with some justification, that they have made it in the game.

    "This sport is very competitive," Belletti said. "Reaching Barca or Real [Madrid] is a very high level, so demanding, a very hard-working culture. So, being there, you think: 'Oh my god, I did well. Now it is time to enjoy it.'"

    Barcelona have been experiencing a decline of late, with the Catalan giants failing to win the league in their last two seasons and not claiming a Champions League title since 2015.

    Furthermore, financial difficulties prevented the club from offering Lionel Messi a new contract, with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, and Barca started this year poorly in his absence.

    They have won their last two games, however, beating Valencia 3-1 in LaLiga and Dynamo Kiev 1-0 in the Champions League as under-pressure head coach Ronald Koeman looks to generate momentum ahead of the first Clasico of the campaign, possibly a pivotal match in his reign.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.