Teofilo Gutierrez leads Colombia
HARRISON, N.J. -- Teofilo Gutierrez scored two goals, one on penalty kick in the first half and the other with his team down a man in the second, leading Colombia to a 2-0 victory over Honduras in an international friendly Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
"This is the first step toward qualifying for the World Cup in 2014," interim coach Leonel Alvarez said. "We're building a team with good soccer players, but also good human beings. It's a dream of mine to take this team further. It's in the hands of the federation to decide who coaches. We're just continuing the process."
Alvarez took over the team after Hernan Dario Gomez, nicknamed "El Bolillo," was removed from his coaching duties after he admitted punching a female fan in the face repeatedly in a bar.
"To take over the coaching position under those circumstances is never good," Alvarez said. "El Bolillo is the heart of this team and we dedicated this game to him. There was no bigger honor to coach with him. On behalf of him and the entire country, we intend to move forward now."
Gomez stepped down Aug. 8.
"He asked me to take it over," Alvarez said. "He had a dream to take this team to the World Cup and when he sees this young team, he can see the passion and the hard work it will take to get it done."
In the 24th minute, Gutierrez was pulled down from behind in the box by defender Victor Bermudez and referee Jorge Gonzalez called for the penalty kick. Gutierrez took the attempt and faked right, but touched it left and it went past goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
In the 72nd minute, after Colombia lost a player to a red-card disqualification, Gutierrez alertly knocked in a rebound off a shot by Dayro Moreno.
Colombia dominated play from the outset and had many more scoring chances than Honduras and twice hit the left post with shots in the first half. Honduras had two good chances in the 37th minute, but one attempt slid wide right of the goal and Maynor Figueroa fired a shot from close range over the crossbar after avoiding three Colombian defenders in the process.
Figueroa was fouled hard from behind in the 55th minute by Colombian forward Adrian Ramos, causing Gonzalez to issue a red card against Ramos. Colombia played the remainder of the game down a man.
Colombian goalkeeper David Opsina made only two saves in the second half to gain the shutout.
"We have to start a game a little more aggressively than this," Honduran coach Luis Fernando Suarez said. "We allowed them to keep the ball way more than we wanted them to. We respected the opponent way too much tonight and that was the bottom line."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press