Honduras expects lift from Figueroa, Elis
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Alberth Elis (white jersey) is available for selection when Honduras visits Australia for the second leg of their World Cup Qualifying intercontinental playoff on November 15, 2017, in Sydney, Australia.

SYDNEY, Australia – Honduras’ World Cup hopes have been boosted by the return of defender Maynor Figueroa and forward Alberth Elis ahead of the intercontinental playoff, second leg against host Australia on Wednesday.

 The pair missed last Friday’s scoreless draw in the series opener due to suspension, but are now back in the fold and expected to be in the starting lineup at ANZ Stadium.

 “Maynor and Alberth will have a great impact,” Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto said in a press conference Tuesday.  “Maynor is a player with 143 national-team matches, two World Cups, captain.  He’s the captain; warrants respect, confidence and security in the group.

 “Elis is pure velocity in football.  He breaks down defenses with his explosiveness.”

 The 34-year-old Figueroa has appeared in 51 World Cup qualifiers and competed in two World Cups, while Elis has netted four goals in 14 matches during the current qualifying cycle.

 Pinto expects that Elis – despite being only 21-years-old – has the ability to cause the Australian defense problems.

 “Here it is logical that Australia will have to play higher up and there are going to be more spaces,” finished the former Costa Rica manager.  “We are going to use [the long ball] because we have fast players up top and that is beneficiary.  Without a doubt Elis is key.”

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