Suchitepequez wins SCCL debut on late goal

Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match between host Suchitepéquez (blue jersey) and Real Esteli on August 18, 2016, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. (Photo: Mexsport)

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Kevin Ruiz's deflected free kick found the back of the net late and Suchitepequez (1W-0D-0L, 3 points) won on its Scotiabank CONCACAF League debut, defeating Real Esteli (0-0-2, 0), 1-0, at the Estadio Mateo Flores on Thursday.

The result lifted the Venados into a tie for the Group H lead with idle FC Dallas (1-0-0, 3), while Real Esteli has dropped both of its decisions by single-goal margins.

In a match that saw the visitor create the more solid opportunities, Ruiz decided matters in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. From 30-yards out on the right, the 21-year-old defender fired a right-footed free kick into the Real Esteli box. A defender stuck out a leg in a bid to make a block. With goalkeeper Justo Lorente already going to the ground to make a save based on the initial trajectory, the ball instead went high, leaving him with no hope.

Real Esteli, which won the possession battle 59%-41%, was unfortunate not to take a lead near the end of the first half.

In the 44th minute, a venomous free kick from distance by Franklin Lopez crashed off the crossbar. The rebound came out to teammate Josue Quijano, whose effort was saved acrobatically by goalkeeper Manuel Sosa.

Suchitepequez became the third of seven Guatemalan teams to win its first-ever SCCL game. 

Group H returns to action on August 24 with Real Esteli hosting FC Dallas.