TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Motagua’s first preseason match of the summer had all the drama of a high-stakes CONCACAF affair as the Honduran club battled to a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica’s Alajuelense in the Copa Diunsa at the Estadio Nacional in Tecgucigalpa.
The cup was officially awarded to Alajuelense after the Tico side defeated Motagua 4-2 in penalty kicks.
Motagua, who will face Belmopan Bandits in the Round of 16 of the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League, enjoyed a quick start against the 2013/14 and 2014/15 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinalists, as Marco Tulio Vega took advantage of an error from Alajuelense GK Patrick Pemberton and gave the hosts a 1-0 lead after 8 minutes.
Alajuelense answered quickly through Alexander Lopez, who fired in a right-footed shot from outside the area to bring the visitors level 1-1 in the 15’.
New Motagua arrival Roberto Moreira showed off his penchant for scoring goals by being at the right place at the right time when a shot deflected off his head and bounced into goal to hand the Honduran side a 2-1 lead in the 54’.
The Ticos would make up the deficit once again, this time in the 77’ with Jonathan Moya nodding in a header off a corner kick.
There was still one last chance for Motagua to claim a win in regular time after a Javier Estupinan was brought down in the penalty area, but Pemberton stood tall and saved Carlos Sanchez’s penalty attempt.
The two teams settled matters from the spot, where Alajuelense converted four of five attempts while Motagua could only convert two, giving Alajuelense the cup.
Motagua will next face Las Delicias in the Copa Presidente on July 22 before playing the first leg of the SCL Round of 16 at home on July 31, with the second leg set for August 7 in Belize.