SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – For the first time in club history, Nicaraguan side Real Esteli have won a Concacaf series after registering a 1-0 win over 2018 Scotiabank Concacaf League champions Herediano of Costa Rica in the 2020 SCL Round of 16 on Tuesday night at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica.
It is the first victory for Real Esteli over a Costa Rican club in Concacaf club competition and earns the Pinoleros a spot in the quarterfinals.
Real Esteli came storming out of the gates and after several good cracks at goal, the visiting Nicaraguans broke the deadlock in the 19’ through Jorge Betancur, who followed up a blocked shot from Henry Garcia and fired a right-footed shot into net for a 1-0 Real Esteli lead.
Later in the half Real Esteli almost made it two off a slick cross from Juan Barrera, but a stabbing shot sailed just wide of the post.
Herediano tried to respond and pull even before the halftime whistle, but they were unable to breach a very compact Real Esteli defense. The best chance for the hosts came from Jonathan McDonald, who missed the target in the waning moments of the first 45 minutes.
The Ticos increased the pressure in the second half, committing more numbers forward as they sought an equalizer and Yendrick Ruiz came within a whiskey of scoring with an overhead kick that banged off the post.
Herediano’s push for a goal left them vulnerable in the back and Real Esteli nearly scored an insurance goal 10 minutes from full-time when Garcia’s volley struck the crossbar.
In the end, a second goal was not needed, as the Real Esteli defense saw things out to earn the historic victory.