MIAMI, Florida – The first week of action from the Scotiabank Concacaf League was completed last week, leaving fans with a number of memories, including the longest penalty shootout in Concacaf club history and the longest penalty shootout of any international professional club competition among the world’s six Confederations.
The 18-round penalty kick duel between Motagua of Honduras and Guatemala’s Comunicaciones following the 2-2 draw also produced some thoughtful reactions in the post-match press conferences from the two Head Coaches: Diego Vazquez of Motagua and Mauricio Tapia of Comunicaciones.
“We just kept on insisting, we managed to tie and looked for the third goal. We didn’t get it so we went to penalties and we showed greater mental strength than the opponent in the penalties,” said Vazquez after his team had rallied from a 0-2 second half deficit to force the shootout.
“We had the mental strength to emerge from a very long penalty shootout, so that’s why I think we are deserved winners. Football awarded us in that manner,” added Vazquez.
For Tapia and Comunicaciones, it was a disappointing way to end the tournament, but that now the most important thing for the club is to move forward.
“We were up for it. In the penalties they were better than us, but I don’t think we were overwhelmed. To say it was a failure would be diminishing the effort of the team. We must have maturity as a club and as a squad because if we stay sad, we are not going to solve anything,” said Tapia.
Another dramatic result saw Canadian side Forge FC earn a late 2-1 win at Municipal Limeno of El Salvador in which Forge played much of the second half down a man. Forge Head Coach Bobby Smyrniotis could not help but beam following his team’s massive win.
“When you’re down to ten men and you come out with a victory down here it’s a big thing,” said Smyrniotis in his post-match press conference. “We’re happy with the win. This is what you want in these games. We know it’s a tough situation coming away from home, having one month between games. We knew that was going to be a bit of a challenge.”
Antigua GFC of Guatemala also advanced past a round in the SCL for the first time in their history thanks to a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Independiente of Panama following a 0-0 draw. Antigua GFC Head Coach Juan Torres hailed the collective effort of his players in their historic win.
“This is a victory that is a result of the players’ effort. We were the away team in a very tough match, so it is a just reward for all of the work put in and the good football that they demonstrated,” said Torres in his post-match press conference.
Another team that emerged victorious from a penalty shootout was Nicaragua’s Managua FC, who edged CD FAS of El Salvador 5-4 in their penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. Managua FC became just the second Nicaraguan side to advance past a round in the SCL, an achievement not lost on Managua FW Pablo Gallego.
“It’s been a very exciting night. I think we did a great job, especially in the second half, the team showed a lot of character and in the end, we have achieved something historic,” said Gallego.