Honda scores in debut for Mexico’s Pachuca

Kyodo

Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda made an immediate impression in Pachuca colors as he came off the bench to score a goal on his Liga MX debut in a 4-1 win over Veracruz on Tuesday.

Honda came on 12 minutes after the break, welcomed by cheers from the Estadio Hidalgo home crowd, and needed just 15 minutes to strike in his first appearance for the Mexican side.

The Japanese collected a pass in Veracruz’s half on a breakout, pushing the ball forward with his first touch and then slamming a left-footer past the sprawling goalkeeper from outside the box.

The 31-year-old injured his right calf and missed Pachuca’s first five games after joining when his 3½-year deal with AC Milan expired in June.

“Not bad for a first step,” said Honda, who scored Pachuca’s fourth goal of the match.

“Finally being able to join my teammates, I was psyched up when I was called on to play. We won, and I have no words to express how I feel. I have to work a bit more on raising my game,” he said.

Earlier in the game, Angelo Sagal opened the scoring for Pachuca in the 13th minute. Victor Guzman scored a brace with one goal before and after the break to make it 3-0 before Pachuca coach Diego Alonso gave Honda the nod to replace Sagal.

The visitors could only respond with one goal, Cristian Pellerano netting in the 78th.