GK Hughes shows versatility for Plaza Amador
Plaza Amador goalkeeper Eric Hughes (pictured) warms up before a Scotiabank CONCACAF League Round of 16, second-leg match against visiting Portmore United on August 9, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Israel Zapateiro)
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PANAMA CITY, Panama – Not only is Plaza Amador goalkeeper Eric Hughes good at stopping shots, he can score off them as well.

The 31-year-old custodian was one of the Leones’ heroes on Wednesday night, when they beat visiting Portmore United, 1-0, in the second leg of their 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League Round of 16 series, which ended level 1-1 on aggregate.  

Matters were settled by penalty kicks, with Hughes netting the winner, as the Panamanian power advanced to quarterfinals (agg: 1-1, 5-4 pens).

“I had a hunch with Hughes,” said Plaza Amador head coach Jair Palacios.  “I knew that he would stop penalties and score his own.”

It was a happy ending to a difficult night for the host.

While Hughes was solid in keeping a clean sheet, Portmore United netminder Shaven Sean Paul was equally as impressive.

It wasn’t until the 75th minute that Plaza Amador finally broke through thanks to a Valentin Pimentel strike.  Still, Palacios was frustrated that his team was not able to convert more of its chances.

“We wasted a lot of goals,” he commented.

Plaza Amador will travel to Nicaragua to open its quarterfinal pairing against Walter Ferretti on August 11.