ESTELI, Nicaragua – Walter Ferretti scored three goals in the second half – highlighted by Jose Bernardo Laureiro’s brace -- and earned a 4-1 win over the visiting Belmopan Bandits in the first leg of their 2017 Scotiabank CONCACAF League Round of 16 series at the Estadio Independencia on Thursday night.
A win, draw or loss by two goals or fewer in the return leg on August 10 will see Ferretti progress to the quarterfinals.
Marcos Mendez gave the host a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute, heading into the net from seven-yards out while down on the ground. Immediately afterwards, the 31-year-old forward was forced to leave the match due to an apparent injury from getting kicked in the head as defender Ian Gaynair attempted to clear the ball.
That was all the scoring until the last 15 minutes, when the sides combined to score four goals.
Laureiro struck for his first goal in the 75th minute. After receiving a pass from Robinson Da Silva, the 25-year-old Uruguayan took a touch into the left side of the box and fired a left-footed shot from 15 yards into the far-side netting.
Four minutes later, Georgie Welcome – who played in three matches for Honduras at the 2010 FIFA World Cup -- converted from the penalty spot in the 79th minute for Belmopan to halve the deficit.
An own-goal by Norman Anderson off Laureiro’s right-sided corner kick in the 90th minute restored Ferretti’s two-goal lead.
In the second minute of stoppage time, Jorge Garcia collected in the right side of the box a miskick by Belmopan goalkeeper Shane Orio. He lifted his head and found Laureiro on the edge of the six-yard box for a neat back-heel finish.