• Tuesday Dec 18, 2012

    CCL spots secured in Central America

    An electric match defined the Salvadoran champion, while the defending title holders in Honduras and Nicaragua scored runaway repeats, and Guatemala has a new, if familiar, champion.

    EL SALVADOR
    The Salvadoran final didn't disappoint, with Isidro Metapan and Alianza playing a down-to-the-wire, unforgettable match in the Estadio Cusctalan.

    The two multiple-time national champions needed extra time and penalty kicks to reach a decision. In the end, it was Metapan that was able to add a seventh trophy to its cabinet, preventing Alianza from winning an eleventh Salvadoran title of its own.

    A match that could boast everything else was still lacking for goals after 90 minutes, and headed to an overtime session in which Nicolas Muñoz gave Metapan a 1-0 lead on a free kick after 106 minutes.

    Just four minutes later, Sean Fraser - who ended the regular season tied with Muñoz for the league goal scoring lead -- leveled matters with a header, sending the final to a dramatic series of penalty kicks.

    In the shootout, Milton Molina converted in the fifth round after an Alianza miss, giving Metapan its seventh title, all of them coming since 2007 and under the leadership of head coach Edwin Portillo.

    With the win, Metapan clinches a spot in the 2013/14 CONCACAF Champions League.

    HONDURAS
    Olimpia ratified a brilliant campaign with a third straight Honduran title, topping Victoria 4-0 in front of its home fans in Tegucigalpa.

    After a scoreless tie in the first leg played last week, the Lions took the lead in just the second minute through Roger Rojas, assisted by Douglas Caetano Mattoso. Eleven minutes later, defender Juan Carlos Garcia gave the Lions a second, when he dashed into the area and finished, much to the delight of the boisterous home crowd.

    Javier Portillo made it three a minute before half time, and Ramiro Bruschi completed the scoring in the second half for the Merengues, who captured a record 26th Honduran crown and clinched a spot in the next CONCACAF Champions League to cap off a spectacular centennial year for the club.

    GUATEMALA
    Comunicaciones found the going easier than expected in a two-legged clasico final versus cross-town rival Municipal, which ended with the Cremas winning both matches comfortably.

    After dominating the first half in the away match disputed at the Estadio Mateo Flores on Friday, Comunicaciones went ahead in the 57th minute through Jean Marquez. The 27-year-old midfielder beat Municipal goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a long-range blast.

    The Cremas got a second fifteen minutes later from Marcelo Guerrero, who had entered the match just a minute earlier. With his first touch, the Uruguayan stole the ball and netted with a blast from outside the area.

    The game, and practically the series, was then decided by Diego Estrada just two minutes later. The Costa Rican ran onto a ball on the right side of the area and proceeded to chip an exquisite shot over Penedo.

    On Monday, at the Estadio Cementos Progreso, the Cremas got an early own-goal from Rojos defender Claudio Albizuris, and cruised to a 1-0 win.

    With the 4-0 aggregate victory, Comunicaciones secured its 25th Guatemalan league crown and a spot in the 2013/14 CONCACAF Champions League.

    COSTA RICA
    Visiting Alajuelense defeated defending champion Herediano 2-1 on Sunday in the first game of the two-legged Costa Rican final.

    The 27-time Costa Rican champion got first-half goals from Allan Guevara (25') and Jorge Davis (33´) to put it on track for a second straight Invierno title, after topping the Costa Rican league in December of 2011.

    Christian Montero halved the lead in the 69th minute for 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalist.

    La Liga will host the closing match of the 2012 Invierno in Alajuela next Saturday night, in the final action of the year for domestic leagues across the region.

    NICARAGUA
    Host Real Esteli rolled to a fourth straight Nicaraguan title on Saturday night, thrashing Walter Ferretti 4-0 in front of a raucous home crowd.

    The hosts got off the mark early with a 35th minute strike from Rudel Calero, who then doubled the lead with a 59th minute tally. That practically settled matters in the Apertura 2012, after the two teams had played to a scoreless tie in the opening match in Managua last weekend.

    Real Esteli added two late goals from Manuel Rosas to provide the final score line, and a thirteenth overall championship of Nicaragua for the rampaging Tren del Norte.

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