Cuba's shrinking under-23 national team was down to 10 eligible players by kickoff time Thursday night in Tampa, but its game against
Honduras went ahead.
Incredibly, the shorthanded Cubans held off Honduras for 68 minutes before goals from Marvin Sanchez
and Hendry Thomas
gave the Catrachos a 2-0 win.
Almost immediately after Cuba's 1-1 tie with the USA on Tuesday night, five players -- Jose Manuel Miranda, Yenier Bermudez
, Erlys Garcia Baro
, Yordany Alvarez
and Loanni Prieto
-- disappeared in a plan hatched while back in Cuba. Two more players -- Yendry Diaz
and Eder Roldan
-- defected Wednesday night.
To make matters worse, Roberto
, the goalscorer against the USA, was automatically suspended a game for receiving a red card. That left Cuba coach Raul Gonzalez
with only 10
of his 18 players available for the Honduras game.
"It was a difficult result," Gonzalez said. "It was hard to play with 10 players. That's asking a lot. But I think we played well."