(Reuters) - A Gabriel Torres strike in stoppage time stunned Honduras and helped Panama to a 2-2 draw in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Honduras were on the verge of moving to within one victory of clinching a spot in next year’s finals before Torres equalised with his second goal of the game.
While the U.S. and Costa Rica were relying on Panama not winning to clinch their spots in Brazil, Honduras, third in the standings behind them, were intent on solidifying their own path to the finals.
The top three teams automatically clinch a spot in the 32-team tournament with the fourth-placed team taking on New Zealand in a playoff for another berth in Brazil.
It looked for much of the match in Tegucigalpa as though the hosts would finish off Panama, especially after Carlos Costly gave them a 1-0 advantage in the 28th minute.
Torres turned the match for the first time in the 50th minute when he equalised for Panama on an assist from Jairo Jimenez.
Wilson Palacios then sent a spirited battle a level higher when he converted from the centre of the box after good work from Roger Espinoza in the 61st minute to put Honduras back ahead.
It looked to be the final blow but Panama would not back off and their aggressive attack earned plenty of chances down the stretch until they finally struck.
Luis Henriquez sent a cross into the box and Torres finished with a left-footed strike that found the upper left corner of the net.
Honduras remain in third place in the group on 11 points, three clear of Panama and Mexico, who meet next month, with two matches remaining. Jamaica prop up the group with four points.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney