TIBAS, Costa Rica – A first half goal from Johan Venegas earned Deportivo Saprissa a 1-0 win over Motagua in the first leg of the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf League Final on Thursday night at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma in Tibas, Costa Rica.
With the victory, the Costa Rican side improved to an all-time record of 10W-5D-1L against the Honduran club.
Saprissa enjoyed a strong start and the tournament’s leading scorer, Venegas, added to his tally by giving the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 19’ when Randall Leal filtered an inch-perfect pass into Venegas, who finished for his seventh goal of the 2019 SCL.
Motagua looked to respond and had two excellent chances to score off a blocked free kick, but Saprissa GK Aaron Cruz made a pair of superb saves. Cruz had to be alert as well in the second half to turn away Motagua from scoring shortly before the hour mark.
Saprissa’s job got tougher when DF Yostin Salinas was sent off with 15 minutes to go, allowing Motagua a man advantage. Yet Saprissa still threatened and Motagua GK Jonathan Rougier was called upon to parry a header over his crossbar in the waning minutes.
In the end, Saprissa saw things out to collect the clean sheet win and grab the advantage going into next week’s second leg.