Wednesday, September 1

Central America Round-Up

It was a big week of news in El Salvador. Isidro Metapan’s impressive unbeaten streaks in El Salvador came to an end as mid-table Once Municpal registered a surprise 2-1 win that ended a 14-game unbeaten run (7-7-0) and a 13-game home unbeaten streak (6-7-0) for the reigning champions. The other major story was the retirement of Miseal Alfaro, who announced his 23-year career was at an end with his retirement due to life-threatening neck injuries. The Metapan goalkeeper, who has 42 caps for El Salvador, played for numerous clubs domestically, winning four titles while playing for Firpo.

Muddy Salvadoran pitch -
Referees were a huge topic as well with games in El Salvador and Costa Rica marred by allegations against officials. In El Salvador, the match involving Universidad de El Salvador was officiated by a student from the university, sparking accusations of bias and conflict of interest. A match in Costa Rica saw five players sent off in a scoreless affair.

The constant rain over the past few weeks have resulted in many games being played on drenched pitches throughout Central America. The home of El Salvador’s Vista Hermosa became a casualty Saturday as the game was postponed due to the poor conditions of the field, 80 percent of which was damaged to the point of being mud. The contest has been delayed indefinitely. Club officials took some of the blame for allowing the field to be cut the day prior to the game, making the conditions worse. With other fields in the area in similar condition, Costa Rica’s Primera Division saw Monday’s contest at the University of Costa Rica delayed a day due to field conditions as well. Numerous others were played under muddy conditions or with standing water on the pitch.

Costa Rica

Saturday, August 28

San Carlos 1-0 Perez Zeledon
Under its interim manager Alexander Madrigal the visitors made a go of it, but saw Cesar Elizondo sent to the locker room six minutes before the break for his second caution. Seven minutes into the second half San Carlos took advantage as midfielder Alvaro Sanchez gave the ball to Maikol Mora on the right, who returned the favor to Sanchez for the lone score. Felix Montoya’s second yellow in the 72nd leveled conditions for the visitors, but Perez Zeledon were unable to find the equalizer. Scoring – SC: Alvaro Sanchez 52

Alajuelense 2-1 Limon
The first half finished in a flurry as the visiting side put pressure on the goal courtesy of Benwell Meneses and Kendall Wilson. A cross to Meneses was headed onto Wilson, who beat his defender and fired past keeper Patrick Pemberton, who did well to stop a second Wilson chance a few minutes later. It took only five minutes of the second stanza to flip the scenario as Kevin Sancho buried a bouncing ball from the edge of the box into the corner in the 48th and Juan Guzman struck on a free two minutes later. Halted for 20 minutes in the second half for a lighting malfunction the game resumed and ended frantically. A minute after entering Leandro struck the crossbar in the 83rd for Alajuelense and five minutes later Limon’s Richard Allen received a second yellow. Scoring – ALA: Kevin Sancho 48, Juan Guzman 50; LIM: Kendall Wilson 42

Sunday, August 29

Cartagines 0-0 Herediano
At was an ugly affair, ranging from a terrible pitch affected by recent rain to five send-offs, including two straight red cards. Each club saw a player ejected in the final 15 minutes of the first half. Herediano had another sent to the locker room in the 79th and both clubs saw another receive their walking orders in stoppage time. Herediano released an official statement of dissatisfaction regarding the referee performance. Unfortunately for Herediano, the club will also be without Victor Nunez due to caution accumulation and Jose Cubero for international duty when they face league leader Alajuelense.

Santos de Guapiles 1-1 Puntarenas
A poorly played first half finished with a poor goalkeeping error in the final seconds that resulted in Johnny Cubero finding the back of the net on a corner. A controversial penalty call six minutes into the second half resulted in a Mario Viquez penalty, but the leading scorer was stopped by Wardy Alfaro only to see Viquez head the rebound past him. Scoring – SG: Johnny Cubero 45; PUN: Mario Viquez 51

Deportivo Saprissa 3-2 Brujas
Saprissa debuted in their new stadium, picking up their second win in six games on the season. Gabriel Badilla netted the first strike in the stadium with an unmarked header on a corner in the 27th minute. Three minutes before the break, Jair Arrieta connected well on a long ball to beat the keeper, but the visitors answered just two minutes later on a great individual effort from Heiner Mora to keep the difference at one. Arrieta added a second three minutes into the second frame on another assist from Armando Alonso. Brujas struck back when Cristian Lagos got behind the defense in the 63rd minute, but were unable to find the equalizer. Scoring – DS: Gabriel Badilla 27, Jair Arrieta 42, 48; BRU: Heiner Mora 44, Cristian Lagos 63

Tuesday, August 30

Universidad de Costa Rica 1-3 Barrio Mexico
Postponed a day due to field conditions, it took until the second half for someone to break the deadlock. The referee played a large role in the beginning, giving the hosts a penalty that Minor Diaz converted in four minutes into the period. Six minutes later it was Bario Mexico’s Verny Scott scoring from the spot to level terms. Jorge Barbosa put away a loose ball in the 74th to give the visitors the advantage and an own goal by Jose Brenes secured the victory five minutes from time. Scoring – UCR: Minor Diaz pen 49; BM: Verny Scott pen 55, Jorge Barbosa 74, own goal 85

El Salvador

Saturday, August 28

Firpo 2-0 Atletico Balboa
A second yellow for Ely Serrano in the 18th left Atletico Balboa with 10 men on the road. Four minutes later the hosts took advamtage when Fernando Leguizamon crossed the ball in to Erick Scott. Eliseo Quintanilla doubled the lead near the hour mark with a hard shot that put the Firpo too far in front for Atletico Balboa to rally when Alexander Erazo was sent off for a second yellow with 12 minutes left, leveling conditions on the pitch. Scoring – FIR: Erick Scott 22, Eliseo Quintanilla 58

Isidro Metapan 1-2 Once Municipal
Isidro Metapan’s impressive unbeaten streaks in El Salvador came to an end as mid-table Once Municpal registered a surprise 2-1 win that ended a 14-game unbeaten run (7-7-0) and a 13-game home unbeaten streak (6-7-0) for the reigning champions. The upset started just 11 minutes in when Hector Avalos’ cross found the head of Carlos Asprilla for the lead. Asprilla’s chance in the 26th set up the second as a poor clearance left Mario Deras with an excellent opportunity. Andres Flores got behind the defense to cut the deficit in the 58th. Scoring – IM: Andre Flores 58; OM: Carlos Asprilla 11, Mario Deras 26

Vista Hermosa v Atletico Marte - Postponed due to field conditions

Sunday, August 29

FAS 2-1 Aguila
The visitors took the initial lead 20 minutes into the contest courtesy of Nelson Reyes and it took FAS over 40 minutes to find an equalizer through Roberto Pena in the 62nd. Although Gilberto Murgas connected for the winner five minutes from time, coach Alberto Rujan was not happy with the club’s play, citing dissatisfaction with mistakes that were made after the match. Scoring – FAS: Roberto Pena 62, Gilberto Murgas 85; AGU: Nelson Reyes 20

Alianza 2-2 Universidad de El Salvador
It took over an hour for the deadlock to end as Rodolfo Zelaya scored two consecutive goals to give the host club the lead before Ramiro Carballo answered with two of his own, including an 89th minute equalizer. But the thrilling comeback paled to post-game accusations from Alianza that the referee was biased due to a conflict of interesting as he is also currently a Master’s degree student for physical education at the university. Scoring – ALI: Rodolfo Zelaya 62, 71; UES: Ramiro Carballo 77, 89


Saturday, August 28

Marquense 2-2 Penarol La Mesilla
A mistake just two minutes into the match gave Mario Mazariegos the opportunity to put the visitors ahead early. The advantage held, and was doubled in the 64th when Pablo Castro used a goalkeeper error to score. The hosts answered back fiercely with a Johnny Ruiz strike two minutes later and an equalizer from Joaquin Alvarez a mere three minutes later, erasing the deficit in the span of five minutes. Scoring: MAR: Johnny Ruiz 66, Joaquin Alvarez 69; PLM: Mario Mazariegos 2, Pablo Castro 64

Comunicaciones 2-1 Universidad San Carlos
Stadium issues resulted in a late switch of home teams Friday night as the match was hosted behind closed doors by Comunicaciones. It took over an hour for the breakthrough as the visitors jumped in front courtesy of Ruben Lopez off a free kick in the 61st. Transito Montepeque answered right back six minutes later, heading in a corner. In the 76th, he made an excellent individual play to give Comunicaciones the win. Scoring – COM: Transito Montepeque 67, 76; USC: Ruben Lopez 61

Xinabajul 1-0 Suchitepequez
The visitors found themselves down a man with the send-off of Jocimar Nascimento at the close of the first half, but it took until the final moments of the match for the hosts to finally break through with the Edgar Nunez winner. The win, pending other results, put Xinabajul, which is struggling financially and lost a key striker earlier in the week due to non-payment, into a tie for first with Comunicaiones. Scoring – XIN: Edgar Nunez 89

Sunday, August 29

Juventud Retalteca 3-1 Heredia
Raul Gonzalez scored just three minutes in for the hosts, who had an opportunity from the spot to double the lead in the 37th only to see Jorge Estrada stop Igor De Souza’s attempt. Five minutes later, though, Alcibiades Rojas would find that second tally only to later leave with a fractured collarbone that will cost him six weeks. Erick Villatoro made the difference three 10 minutes into the second half with Marlon Pena spoiling the shutout three minutes from the final whistle. Scoring – JR: Raul Gonzalez 3, Alcibiades Rojas 42, Erick Villatoro 55; HER: Marlon Pena 87

Municipal 2-1 Xelaju
All the action wrapped around the halftime intermission as Guillermo Ramirez giving the hosts the lead four minutes before the break from the left side. Two minutes into the second half Xelaju leveled when Edgar Cotto put away a rebound of a Penedo Crossa header that was saved. Ramirez, though, answered right back in the 51st off a free kick. Scoring – MUN: Guillermo Ramirez 41, 51; XEL: Edgar Cotto 47

Malacateco 1-0 Mictlan
Oscar Isaula’s strike two minutes into the second stanza proved enough as Paulo Motta’s work at the other end kept the visitors off the board. Scoring – MAL: Oscar Isaula 47


Sunday, August 29

Deportes Savio 1-1 Olimpia
The field conditions were the central story of the conflict as the two sides played to a draw in mud that left the white-clad visitors finishing in brown. On the hour mark, Olimpia’s Ramiro Bruschi touched the ball past the keeper for the lead. The hosts found an equalizer 16 minutes later from the spot by Elroy Smith after a controversial penalty call. Scoring – DS: Elroy Smith pen 76; OLI: Ramiro Bruschi 60

Hispano 0-0 Necaxa
Newly-promoted Necaxa continues lead the league after a scoreless draw on the road against winless Hispano with second-place Platense falling on the road. The result, however, was the club’s first draw after winning its opening three.

Real Espana 1-2 Victoria
The visitors picked up their first victory of the year, rallying to secure three points that moved them from near the bottom to a tie for fifth. Mario Martinez rifled a long-range effort for Real Espana on 31 minutes, but the lead lasted only 10 minutes. David Colon rose above his defender on a corner kick to draw even at the break. Seven minutes before conclusion, Saul Martinez notched the important winner. Scoring – RE: Mario Martinez 31; VIC: David Colon 41, Saul Martinez 83

Motagua 1-0 Platense
Charles Cordoba scored three minutes in for the home side, which continued to dominate the meeting. The efforts at goal, however, did not find the mark with the opening tally standing as the deciding goal. Scoring – MOT: Charles Cordoba 3

Vida 2-3 Marathon
Powerhouse Marathon found themselves down two goals at the half to winless lat-place Vida, but rallied for victory in the second half which saw two strikes in the final five minutes. Jerry Bengtson gave Vida the lead 20 minutes in from the spot after a handball infringement and then doubled the advantage in the final minute of the half when he made a good play off the endline before finding the back of the net. Nicolas Cardozo found Randy Diamond seven minutes into the second half and later tied the contest with his own strike in the 84th. A minute later Diamond stunned the home crowd with the winner. Scoring – VID: Jerry Bengtson pen 20, 45; MAR: Randy Diamond 52, 85, Nicolas Cardozo 84


Fresh off their Champions League win, leaders Arabe Unido did not suffer a let-down, topping visiting Alianza, 2-1, Sunday to maintain its five-point lead over Chepo, which was a 3-0 winner Friday on the road against Atletico Veraguense. Also five points back are Chorrillo, who drew 1-1 away from home Friday against Tauro, and Sporting San Miguelito, 2-1 victors at home in Saturday’s lone fixture against Plaza Amador. In a meeting of mid-table sides, host Atletico Chiriqui played to a 2-2 draw Sunday with San Francisco, keeping the two clubs level with one another in the table.

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