SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – In Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Marathon in the Honduran Apertura, Olimpia head coach Carlos Restrepo made six changes to the side that earned a 7-1 win over host Plaza Amador three days earlier in the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League semifinal, first leg.
In his post-match press conference, Restrepo indicated that squad changes were not a factor in the final result, but did acknowledge the difficulty of playing in the heat (93 ˚F/34 ˚C) on short rest.
“It was virtually the first team. Despite all that, some players put to the side their fatigue,” said the 56-year-old Colombian. “This type of weather and Thursday-Sunday matches are complex.”
Those players who began the Marathon match on the substitutes bench after starting in Panama were goalkeeper Donis Escober; defenders Jose Tobias and Dabirson Castillo; midfielders Brayan Moya and Alexander Lopez; and forward Roger Rojas.
Restrepo opted to make three second-half substitutions, bringing on Rojas for Carlo Costly (46’), Lopez for Carlos Will Mejia (50’) and Tobias for Bayron Mendez (76’)
The visiting Leones took a 2-0 lead thanks to first-half goals from Costly (14’) and Mendez (19’), but Marathon stormed back after the break on pair of goals by Justin Arboleda (49’, 74’) and a Cristian Calix (69’) strike
Costly took his goal total to six in all competitions this season (2 Apertura, 4 SCL). The 35-year-old forward, however, is suspended for Thursday’s meeting with Plaza, meaning Restrepo will need to find a way to make sure Olimpia avoids the dip it suffered against Marathon.
“Costly’s goal gave us tranquility,” he finished. “Managing them in the first half was important. Later came a second facet without Costly and I think that we took away an important man who had sustained us in our offensive play.”
Olimpia has scored five goals in six domestic outings, while netting 13 in five SCL encounters.