TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras- Motagua took a huge step towards advancing to the next round of the Scotiabank CONCACAF League by beating Belizean champs Belmopan Bandits by a score of 2-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of the Round of 16 at the Estadio National in Tegucigalpa.
Midfielders Kevin Lopez and Matias Galvaliz where the offensive stars for the Honduran champs with goals in the 47th and 77th minutes respectively.
Things were complicated for the home team in the first half as Belmopan Bandits goalkeeper Shane Orio was the star of the match for the visitors with his amazing performance. In the 23rd minute, he saved a great header by Carlos Sánchez. Seven minutes later, he prevented Kevin López from scoring with a shot from inside the box.
Eventually Motagua were able to break through early in the second half. Kevin López would finally beat Orio with a strike to his right and the former CD Marathon goalkeeper was unable to prevent the first goal of the match.
In the 77th minute, the former Honduran youth international would go from being goalscorer to provider when he won the ball on the right wing. He would send a cross into the box for Argentine, Matías Galvaliz. There the former Rosario Central man would slot the ball past Orio to make it 2-0.
Although behind throughout the majority of the first half, Belmopan Bandits came close to equalizing in the 63rd minute. Former Motagua man Georgie Welcome unleashed a powerful left-footed shot from inside the box that forced the goalkeeper Jonathan Rougier to punch the ball wide for a corner kick. That would be the closest the Belizeans got to scoring a goal on the night.
In the final moments of the match, Welcome took a free kick that Rougier was unable to control, but the second shot ended up being taken in an offside position.
The second leg of this tie will be played on Tuesday, August 7 at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Belize.