Real Esteli, Suchitepequez wrangle to SCCL draw

A deflected cross off the foot of Samuel Wilson (white jersey) found Suchitepéquez's net in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match on September 13, 2016, in Esteli, Nicaragua. (Photo: Mexsport) 

ESTELI, Nicaragua – Real Esteli (0W-2D-2L, 2 points) and visiting Suchitepequez (1-1-0, 4) battled to a 1-1 draw in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League at the Estadio Independencia on Tuesday night.

The result lifted Suchitepequez into a tie for first-place in Group H with FC Dallas (1-1-0, 4) on four points, but the MLS squad has the advantage on the goals scored tiebreaker. Real Esteli, which is winless in 20 all-time games in the competition (0-7-13), concluded its participation in the current edition with a second straight deadlock.

Following a scoreless -- though entertaining -- first half, the encounter produced goals that rewarded both sides’ efforts.

Suchitepequez took a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute, when midfielder Juan Cardona clipped a clever pass into the penalty area that forward Amaury Escoto quickly chipped over Real Esteli goalkeeper Justo Lorente with his right foot from seven-yards out.

The host would catch a break in the 70th minute to equalize. Samuel Wilson attempted to lift what appeared to be a cross into the box from the right side with his left foot, only for the ball to ricochet off a Suchitepequez defender and sail inside the near post.

Real Esteli found the back of the net again in the 77th minute, but Josue Quijano’s flicked header was disallowed for offside.

In the first half, Wilson hit the crossbar and teammate Gregorio Torres blasted high after being sent in on a breakaway.

Suchitepequez and FC Dallas will battle in the group’s last pair of matches -- September 28 in Frisco, Texas, and October 20 in Guatemala City – to decide which of the two progresses.

NOTES: With Suchitepequez’s draw, Heredia remains the only one of seven Guatemalan sides to win its first two SCCL matches, defeating the Montreal Impact and the San Jose Earthquakes by the same 1-0 score in the 2013/14 edition ... 16 of Real Esteli’s 20 all-time SCCL games have been decided by one goal or fewer.