SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – After his Olimpia side swept Alajuelense in their 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League (SCL) Round of 16 series, head coach Carlos Restrepo was most pleased by the defensive effort.
The Leones won the first leg at home (2-0) and then triumphed on the road Thursday (1-0).
“We came into a match with a lot of tension,” said Restrepo. “La Liga (Alajuelense) was going to try to look for a reaction, but we managed it well. La Liga started to show itself more and we shined in the back. We did not get overconfident with a 2-0 lead, we showed well.”
Similar to the first leg, Restrepo devised a formation that functioned as a 4-5-1 in defense and 4-4-2 in attack. Such a tactic prevented Alajuelense from operating in space, while allowing Olimpia to play to one of its strengths: the long ball.
It worked to perfection just prior to halftime, when Roger Rojas struck for the game’s lone goal after goalkeeper Donis Escober picked out Michael Chirinos with a long punt downfield.
“We are satisfied for having beaten a team like la Liga,” Restrepo finished. “Olimpia also did its job. We set up to create space problems and the 4-4-2 worked for us.”
Olimpia will next face host Alianza in their SCL quarterfinal, first leg on Thursday in San Salvador, El Salvador.