BELMOPAN, Belize – 17-year-old FW Manfred Ugalde bagged a brace to lead Costa Rica’s Saprissa past Belmopan Bandits of Belize 3-1 in the first leg of their 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf League Preliminary Round series on Wednesday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Belize.
Saprissa enjoyed a quick start out of the gates with a goal in the 13’ with Ugalde polishing off a nice team build-up to hand the visitors a 1-0 lead.
But Bandits would hang tough and just minutes after coming on as a first half substitute, MF Jefrie James brought the home side level 1-1 with a sizzling right-footed strike from outside the area.
Saprissa would regain the lead when a Randall Leal cross was handled in the area, resulting in a penalty, and Johan Venegas stepped up and converted the spot kick to make it a 2-1 Saprissa lead.
The Tico outfit would then stretch their advantage to 3-1 moments before the break thanks to Ugalde’s sweeping right-footed shot to finish off a counterattack.
Belmopan’s Hector Martinez was unlucky not have pulled one back early in the second half when his shot rang off the post, but it would be Bandits’ last good look at a goal, as the Monstruo Morado saw things out to collect the victory.