SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – A goal late in the second half gave Aguila a 1-0 win over visiting Real Esteli in the first leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF League (SCL) Round of 16 series on Wednesday night at the Estadio Cuscatlan.
With the result, the Salvadoran power needs only a draw to progress to the quarterfinals when the sides meet again on August 8 in Nicaragua.
In the 89th minute, left-back Deris Umanzor lifted a precise cross into the box for the unmarked Victor Garcia, who headed it home off the right post from 11-yards out for the game's only goal.
The entertaining encounter was marked by some outstanding saves by both goalkeepers and interventions by the woodwork.
Carlos Chavarria, who scored Nicaragua’s first-ever goal in the CONCACAF Gold Cup three weeks ago, made another bid for history by nearly striking for Real Esteli’s first SCL goal. In the 29th minute, the 23-year-old winger fired off a shot from the left side of the box that forced Aguila custodian Walter Lopez into a near-post save.
Five minutes later, a header by Aguila’s Javier Lezcano was well saved by goalkeeper Henry Maradiaga.
James Cabezas nearly put the host ahead seconds after the break, but his left-footed effort hit the crossbar. Midway through the second half, Lezcano – despite having plenty of time – fired a left-footer high from the left side of the box.
Real Esteli best chance came in the 78th minute, when Sebastian Acosta struck a free kick off the crossbar.