Motagua wins Honduran Apertura title, qualifies for SCCL

Motagua (pictured) celebrates after winning the 2016 Honduran Apertura title in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, on December 18, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional de Honduras)

PUERTO CORTES, Honduras – Motagua played host Platense to a 1-1 draw in the second leg of the 2016 Honduran Apertura final on Sunday at the Estadio Excelsior and captured the series 2-1 on aggregate.

With the triumph, the Ciclon Azul earned its 14th title to seal a place in the 2017/18 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.

Platense took a 1-0 lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, when Motagua struggled to clear a high ball played into its box, allowing Jorge Cardona to gain possession and create enough space to fire a right-footed shot from 11-yards out just under the crossbar.

The visitor leveled in the 60th minute as Carlos Discua’s 25-yard free kick from the right bounced in the six-yard and skipped into the net past goalkeeper Jose Calderon.

A minute later, however, Cardona was ejected for his second yellow card, a development that dented Platense’s championship hopes.

Motagua, which has appeared in three previous SCCL editions, last lifted the trophy after the 2014 Apertura.