PUERTO CORTES, Honduras -- Juan Portillo struck for an 88th-minute goal to lift visiting Alianza to a 2-1 victory over 10-man Platense in the first leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF League Round of 16 series on Wednesday night.
Rodolfo Zelaya also scored and assisted on the game-winner at the Estadio Excelsior. Portillo’s goal came two minutes after Brunet Hay had equalized for Platense.
The victory means the 2016 Salvadoran Apertura runner-up will only need a draw in the return leg at home on August 9 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Platense went down to 10 men after Fabian Arriaga was sent off in the 43rd minute for a challenge that caught the back of Herbert Sosa’s head. Sosa the game with an injury and Luis Hinestroza entered as his replacement.
The visitor finally took advantage of its numerical advantage 29 minutes later through Zelaya. With his back to goal, the El Salvador international played a ball back to Martin Monterrosa, ran onto an arcing return pass, and squeezed between three defenders – as well as goalkeeper Roberto Lopez -- to poke his finish inside the right post.
Platense netted an equalizer in the 86th minute, when Hay struck a free kick that snuck low around the left side of the wall and inside the left post.
The tie, however, lasted only two minutes. Zelaya, El Salvador’s all-time leading CONCACAF Gold Cup scorer, played the role of provider. Portillo timed his run as Zelaya slotted a through ball, and Portillo drove in a low finish from nine-yards out.