SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – It was never reasonable to believe that Plaza Amador could reverse a 7-1 deficit inflicted from the opener of its 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League semifinal series against Olimpia.
On Thursday night, however, head coach Jair Palacios wanted to see an appropriate second-leg response. One that would restore pride and boost belief.
Although ultimately eliminated, Plaza gave its fans and Palacios just that in a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
“On the field, I saw a team different to the previous one,” the 48-year-old Colombian said after the game. “I did not see an off team. Today, I saw a committed group. This leaves me calm because we are in our domestic league, where we need intelligent play and today I saw it. I saw something that I thought had been lost, which was attitude and desire.”
The Panamanian power took a 1-0 lead on Jose Murillo’s 20th-minute goal, only for Roger Rojas to equalize for the host with nine minutes remaining in normal time.
“The team came out committed to what we had drawn up; very organized and focused in what we wanted against an Olimpia that attacked, but did not have the spaces,” remarked Palacios. “The team managed its concentration level.”
Plaza will attempt to stay atop the 2017 Panamanian Apertura table Sunday, when it welcomes Alianza FC to the Estadio Maracana.