March 26, 2016 / 4:52 AM / 3 years ago

Bonilla equalizer keeps El Salvador third after 2-2 draw

Football Soccer - El Salvador v Honduras - World Cup 2018 Qualifier - Cuscatlan Stadium, San Salvador, El Salvador - 25/3/16. Honduras players celebrate scoring against El Salvador. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

(Reuters) - Winger Nelson Bonilla headed in a late equalizer to give El Salvador a 2-2 draw at home to bitter rivals Honduras in a keenly contested CONCACAF 2018 World Cup qualifier that ended with wild celebrations by the home fans on Friday.

El Salvador, who twice came from a goal down to snatch their point, remain third in group A of the fourth round of regional qualifiers with two points from three matches.

Mexico lead the group with nine points after a 3-0 win in Vancouver over second-placed Canada, who have four, and Honduras are bottom on one.

The home side’s first equalizer was the pick of the goals with striker Pablo Punyed chesting down a long, high ball into the Honduras box with his back to goal and swivelling past two defenders to fire into the roof of the net in first half stoppage time.

Alberth Ellis had put Honduras ahead in the 19th minute volleying in at a corner and Anthony Lozano restored the visitors’ lead on the hour when he tapped in after the goalkeeper spilt a shot he appeared to have caught cleanly.

The top two teams in the three groups go through to the fifth and final round, a single six-team group from which the first three qualify for Russia 2018, and the fourth-placed side go into an intercontinental playoff.

Writing by Rex Gowar; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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