SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – After his squad posted a 1-0 win over host Olimpia in the 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League final, first leg on Thursday night, Santos de Guapiles head coach Johnny Chaves cautioned that the two-leg series is far from over.
“A 1-0 [win] doesn’t resolve anything. Yes, it gives us confidence, but we must prepare very well for the other game,” the 57-year-old said in his post-match press conference at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano. “Olimpia has quality and they are going to go after the game there in Costa Rica.”
Chaves also acknowledged that good fortune was in Santos’ corner, particularly in the first half, when Olimpia spurned two golden opportunities to take the lead as forwards Carlo Costly and Roger Rojas were unable to finish.
Instead, Santos held firm and earned the winning goal through Wilmer Azofeifa deflected effort in the 61st minute, posting a fifth consecutive SCL clean sheet.
“I think at the beginning we were lucky because Olimpia had two clear chances to score on us, but I think we had a response,” remarked Chaves. “In the second half, we spotted counterattacks and found ourselves with a goal and we could have finished the match off.”
The two teams will square off in the second leg next Thursday at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, with Santos looking toward its own style as the best way to neutralize Olimpia’s potent attack.
“They are really good on second balls,” Chaves finished. “They have very good shooters at goal and good headers. We have to defend them with possession.”
Santos de Guapiles is aiming to lift a major trophy for the first time in its 56-year history.