MIAMI, Florida – Honduran club CD Marathon are in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League and a big reason why is GK Denovan Torres.
The Catracho club battled to a rain-soaked 1-1 draw with Guatemala’s Antigua GFC in the Round of 16, resulting in a penalty shootout. It was at that moment when Torres took over by stopping two penalties to help secure Marathon’s passage to the next round with a 4-3 penalty shootout win.
“It was really difficult because you really couldn’t play football. We always try to play possession football on the opponent’s side of the field, but fortunately we were able to get a draw and then win in penalties,” said Torres in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com
“It was great to win in penalties, to qualify for the next round and stop a few penalties, but now we have to get ready to have another good match against Saprissa,” added Torres.
Torres’s first save came on Antigua’s first attempt when he correctly dove to his left to block the shot from Kevin Arriola. The second stop was even bigger, as he stretched to his right to save Antigua’s fifth and final attempt through Jairo Arreola to seal the shootout win.
The 31-year-old shot-stopper, who also was the penalty shootout hero for Marathon in their 2017 Copa de Honduras and 2018 Honduran Clausura title conquests, was kind enough to share the secrets of his penalty-saving process.
“I always like to talk to the penalty taker. I want him to see me. I want him to see me moving around and so I try to fool him into thinking that I’m going one way when I’m actually going another way.
“With the team, we have won two titles each in penalty kicks, so we have that confidence of being in a penalty shootout,’ said Torres.
Up next for Torres and his teammates is a quarterfinal date with defending SCL champions Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica, who are coming off a 4-1 Round of 16 win over Municipal of Guatemala in which all-time SCL leading scorer Johan Venegas scored four of his career 11 SCL goals.
“It’ll be a great match. It’s a wonderful opportunity that we have to make history not only personally, but as a club, and thankfully we’ll have the chance to play here at home in the Estadio Olimpico. We have to take advantage of playing at home.
“We have been watching [Venegas] and studying him. We have to stop him on set pieces and go all out on every ball and keep our shape in the back to try to win this series,” said Torres.
With a victory over the Ticos, Marathon would qualify for the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, a tournament Torres participated in with the club in 2019. Needless to say, Marathon are plenty motivated to qualify for the club’s sixth SCCL appearance.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity and so we are going to go all out. We are capable of playing a great match. Concacaf games are wonderful games because they are international games in which one can show himself by playing a good game. There is a chance that others are watching you and perhaps you can go to another country. It’s a great opportunity,” said Torres.
Yet Torres and Marathon’s hopes are not just reaching the SCCL, but also to be the last team standing at the end of the tournament.
“Of course I think we can win the tournament. We are convinced we can, but it depends on us and our focus. It’s a great opportunity and we feel like we can win the cup,” concluded Torres.