Victor Moncada (blue jersey) has scored Honduras Progreso's last three goals in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- Victor Moncada scored his third goal of the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League to lift Honduras Progreso (2W-1D-1L, 7 points) to the top of Group A with a 1-0 victory over visiting DirecTV W Connection (0-1-2, 1) on Thursday at the Estadio Francisco Morazan.
Progreso completes their first-ever SCCL group phase with wins in their final two home matches to take a one-point lead over Pumas (2-0-1, 6).
To qualify for the quarterfinals, the Diablos must now hope W Connection can defeat Pumas in Mexico City in the final Group A match on October 20. Pumas would reach the quarters with a victory or a draw, since it currently owns the better goal difference (+3 to 0).
W Connection was officially eliminated from contention, while failing to score for the first time this tournament. The Savonetta Boys could’ve kept hopes of their first knockout phase appearance alive with an away victory, but despite outshooting the host 21-15, they rarely forced goalkeeper Woodrow West into an above-average effort for any of his eight saves.
After posting a brace in Honduras Progreso’s first home SCCL match, a 2-1 win over Pumas, Moncada provided an encore Thursday.
This time, he broke through in the 18th minute after taking Angel Tejada’s pass near the left side of the penalty arc. Moncada then dribbled right toward the top of the arc, then unleashed a shot that dipped and squirmed beneath the dive of goalkeeper Julani Archibald.
After halftime, Dimitrie Apai came closest to equalizing for the visitors, though he couldn’t direct either of his best chances on target.
In the 76th minute, his dipping strike induced a diving stop from West, though replays suggested the effort was heading wide of the left post.
Five minutes later, Apai failed to capitalize on a 3-on-1 break, blasting an effort high and wide of a seemingly open goal.
Between those chances, Progreso’s Mariano Acevedo nearly doubled the lead, with Archibald reacting at the last moment to push the swerving long-range attempt around the left post.