BELMOPAN, Belize – Playing away from home in a CONCACAF tournament is never easy, so one could understand why Motagua Head Coach Diego Vazquez was so pleased with his team’s performance in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win in Belize against the Belmopan Bandits.
The victory gave the Honduran side a 3-0 victory on aggregate in their 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League Round of 16 tie and sends Motagua to the quarterfinals where it will face either Jamaica’s Portmore United or Costa Rica’s Santos de Guapiles.
Yet for Vazquez, what paid off so handsomely for his team on Tuesday was the formation change. The Motagua boss set up his team to play in a 4-4-2 in Belize, differing from the 4-3-2-1 that produced a 2-0 home win in the first leg.
The Catracho side took to its new set-up and avoided any potential drama from its Central American counterparts.
“We knew that the Belize team has fast players that can shoot and they have people who play well up top. They are very strong here,” said Vazquez in his post-match press conference.
“We had to match them in the battle and later try to play, to open the field up. We changed the system today. The team functioned well, the two lines of four were set up well,” added Vazquez.
In addition to the challenges posed by Belize’s dangerous attacking force, Motagua also had to deal with the artificial grass at Belmopan’s Isidoro Beaten Stadium, a big change from its customary natural grass field back in Honduras.
Vazquez feels like his players handled it all with aplomb.
“It was a good game on a turf field, a surface that we’re not used to. The team handled the ball well, adapted quickly to the surface,” said Vazquez.
“I think that we never suffered and I think the 3-0 final is fair for these 180 minutes. In addition, maybe we left ourselves short, but that is about growing and improving and giving more going ahead in the competition,” concluded Vazquez.