HEREDIA, Costa Rica – Herediano took a big step toward qualifying for its ninth Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Motagua in the first leg of the 2018 Scotiabank Concacaf League final on Thursday night at the Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero in Heredia, Costa Rica.
A brilliant bit of playmaking from Jose Guillermo Ortiz set up Herediano’s opening goal in the 24’, as he split a pair of Motagua defenders with a clever backheel into the path of Jimmy Marin, who rounded Motagua GK Jonathan Rougier and slotted home for the 1-0 lead.
The pressure kept coming from Herediano into the second half and in the 62’ the Ticos would double their advantage. A weak clearance from the Motagua defense on the left edge of the area eventually allowed Marin to swing a cross over to Allan Cruz, who fired in from close-range to make it 2-0.
Hoping to draw on its experience from the semifinal first leg against Tauro when it faced a 2-0 second half deficit in the first leg, Motagua sought a response and nearly got a precious away goal in the 70’ through Kevin Lopez, but Herediano GK Leonel Moreira stood tall and made a critical save.
The Herediano defense held the line the rest of the way, securing the clean sheet victory and giving the Ticos a healthy advantage going into next Thursday’s second leg in Honduras.