MIAMI, Florida – The final two matches of the Round of 16 of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League were played on Tuesday night in what was another dramatic evening of football in the region.
Here is a look back at the top moments from Real Esteli’s 1-0 win at Herediano and Alajuelense’s 1-0 victory versus San Francisco.
Betancur etches name into Real Esteli lore
Heading into Tuesday night’s contest, Real Esteli of Nicaragua had never advanced past a round in Concacaf competition, but that all changed thanks to Jorge Betancur’s first half strike. The decisive moment came in the 19’, beginning with Juan Barrera’s dashing run down the right flank. The Nicaraguan National Team all-time leading scorer then crossed for Henry Garcia, who had two cracks at goal but was blocked each time. Yet on the second rebound Betancur appeared and with calm and composure, he fired a right-footed shot into net to create a magical moment that will forever live in Real Esteli lore.
Herediano’s Ruiz denied by the post
Herediano came out for the second half with a sense of urgency in hopes of pulling level with Real Esteli. The 2018 SCL champions poked and prodded inside the Real Esteli area and in the 70’ they were able to get the chance they needed. A looping corner kick was headed back across goal and 2018 SCL Golden Ball winner Yendrick Ruiz was set to become the hero once again, only to see his shot bang off the post and out.
Montenegro at the right place and right time for Alajuelense
The best strikers out there just have a knack for being at the right place and right time, and such was the case for Alajuelense FW Jurguens Montenegro in the 61’ against San Francisco. It began with MF Bryan Ruiz storming into the middle of the San Francisco area hoping to draw in defenders before feeding a pass out wide, but Ruiz’s initial attempt was deflected away. Fortunately for Montenegro, the ball rolled right to him and he calmly stroked his right-footed shot into net for the game’s lone goal.
Catuy inches away from rescuing San Francisco
The visiting Panamanians were not about to let Alajuelense stroll to the finish line and their hunt for an equalizer came within a whisker of bearing fruit in the 83’. A flicked-on header off a San Francisco corner kick presented Jair Catuy with a chance to rescue his side, but he was left in disbelief as his left-footed shot rang off the crossbar.