SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Santos de Guapiles fell short in a bid to earn its first major trophy, finishing as runner-up to Olimpia in the inaugural Scotiabank CONCACAF League.
The Costa Rican side fell 4-1 on penalty kicks Thursday after the two-legged final ended 1-1 on aggregate. In an unusual occurrence, the road team won each game by the same 1-0 score.
“The team fought, played and did not throw away anything,” said Santos head coach Johnny Chaves. “In the end, we are the loser and you have to accept it. It is sad. It is difficult to handle it because to say that it was the first time [in a final] is to make excuses. And that is not good for anyone. We should accept it and that it will serve us better.”
It was a series marked by sturdy defensive play and a dearth of clear scoring opportunities. Santos’ goal in the first leg came off Wilmer Azofeifa’s deflected effort from 30-yards out, while Olimpia struck when a ball poked away by a Santos defender inside the box rolled to Michael Chirinos for a finish from 18 yards.
“From the start we wanted to pressure Olimpia playing out of the back, but the defense stayed back and we had to change,” Chaves concluded. “Olimpia had the initiative in the first half. Later, they scored that goal on us in a very tight match. In the second match, we pressured, but we lacked production on scoring chances.”
Santos finished the competition conceding one goal or fewer in its last seven outings – a stretch of five straight shutouts -- with its only loss coming in the finale against Olimpia.