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Drone spying claim adds extra edge to winner-takes-all clash

Sports | Nov 15, 2017
Honduras accused Australia of using a drone for "espionage," giving an extra edge to their winner-takes-all playoff to reach next year's football World Cup.

Coach Jorge Luis Pinto called it "embarrassing" after a drone was spotted hovering near an official training session - even though Australian reports said it was being flown by children. Pinto also reportedly claimed Honduran media leaked information to Australia, and suggested the Socceroos swept for hidden cameras before the first-leg draw in San Pedro Sula.

"The incident is embarrassing for such an advanced country. I think it's a pity," Pinto said, when asked about the drone.

"[When Australia came to Honduras] they checked every bathroom of the stadium to see if we had cameras. What a shame, in a country with this culture and level, asking to do that."

He added: "Let's not be naive. It's espionage in football that begins to happen with this technology."

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou brushed off the claim of an information leak, saying he was "not really concerned about it."

Talisman Tim Cahill, meanwhile, says he's ready to play after an ankle injury, while Mathew Leckie and Mark Milligan return from suspension.

Both teams made the long trip to Sydney for the return leg but the Australians arrived 24 hours earlier, earning extra recovery time, by splashing out around A$1 million (HK$5.96 million) on a chartered flight.

In Lima, New Zealand's towering striker Chris Wood is set to start tomorrow's (HK time) playoff match against Peru.

The five Kiwi defenders who started the 0-0 first-leg draw in Wellington measured an average of 1.84 meters, while the four Peruvians who played up front against them were on average 10 centimeters shorter.

"It's not easy to play against the walls that make up their defense," Peru striker Jefferson Farfan said.

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