San Jose, Oct 26 (IANS) Costa Rican club Herediano defeated visiting Honduran side Motagua 2-0 in the first leg of the CONCACAF League finals thanks to goals by Jimmy Marin and Allan Cruz.
Motagua came out of the gates showing speed and ambition Thursday night at Eladio Rosabal Cordero Stadium, reports Efe.
But Roman Castillo was unable to beat keeper Leonel Moreira in a one-on-one opportunity in the opening minutes and then could only produce a weak header in a second goal-scoring chance.
Herediano settled into the match shortly afterward and opened the scoring on a two-man play in which Marin headed on a long clearance to Jose Guillermo Ortiz, got the ball back from his teammate and then dribbled around Motagua net minder Jonathan Rougier for an easy score in the 23rd minute.
The hosts continued to control the game in the second half thanks to the play of Marin and midfielders Randall Azofeifa and Cruz.
Cruz doubled Herediano’s lead in the 62nd minute when he received a cross from Marin, controlled the ball in the area and sent an angled shot out of the reach of Rougier.
The goalkeepers then made their presence felt with a pair of outstanding saves, with Moreira stopping a shot by Kevin Lopez and Rougier preventing Herediano’s Yendrick Ruiz from scoring on a header.
Motagua looked lost offensively for the most part and was unable to establish any link between midfield and attack, with Castillo providing the lone highlights of an otherwise bland performance.
Defensively, the visitors had to rely on tactical fouling to put an early stop to Herediano’s potential breakaways.
The second leg of the CONCACAF League finals will be played next Thursday at Motagua’s home ground – Tiburcio Carias Andino Stadium in Tegucigalpa.