MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Walter Ferretti could make football history on Thursday night by becoming the first Nicaraguan side to reach the semifinals of a CONCACAF club competition with a win or score draw against host Plaza Amador in the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League.
The sides battled to a scoreless stalemate in their quarterfinal, first leg last week at the Estadio Independencia in Esteli, Nicaragua, which sits about 90 miles away from Ferretti’s Managua home.
“In the CONCACAF League we have played as the home team at a field that is normally not ours,” said Ferretti goalkeeper Denis Espinoza, when asked about the challenges of competing on the road. “For us, there is no pressure playing away. I think the pressure is on the home team that has to look for the result in front of their fans. That is not going to intimidate us. We respect the opponent, but we do not have fear or panic.”
If anyone can speak to Ferretti’s fortitude when playing away from home in CONCACAF competition, it is Espinoza.
The 33-year-old custodian was part of the Ferretti team that narrowly fell 1-0 at Mexico’s Club America in the 2015/16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. He believes that experience when the Rojinegros line-up Thursday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, Panama.
“For us, it is always a motivation to play against good teams, with opposing fans, whether it be home or away,” Espinoza finished. “We played in away in the Estadio Azteca. We played a good match and in the CONCACAF League we play home matches in a stadium that is not ours. So this is nothing new for us.”