Real España poses for a team photo prior to its Honduran Apertura semifinal against Olimpia on December 1, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Real España)
The finalists in Honduras are now in place, while the playoffs continued in El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica. CONCACAF.com offers up a full recap of the weekend action in Central America.
A dramatic afternoon played out on Sunday as Real Sociedad and Real España advanced to the 2013 Honduran Apertura final.
Sociedad’s passage was sealed after it struck for a third time from the penalty spot in the final minute of a 3-1 win over Deportes Savio, while España moved on thanks to a 1-1 draw against Olimpia. Both sides progress due to their higher positions in the regular-season table.
Real Sociedad needed to overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit and started it with a run in the area by Carlos Palacios that resulted in Elkin Gonzalez converting a 21st minute penalty. Four minutes after the break, Gonzalez doubled the host’s lead with another successful penalty kick after Cesar Zelaya was fouled in the area. A goal just past the hour mark by 36-year-old Luis Ramirez gave Deportes Savio new life to make it 2-1. Zelaya, however, was fouled again in the box, allowing Henry Clark to complete the sensational rally in the 90th minute with his first penalty of the game.
Olimpia’s bid for a fifth consecutive title came to an end following its elimination at the hands of Real España. The decisive goal came in the 82nd minute, when Franco Güity tallied off a pass from Bryan Rochez. The Lions looked for the dramatic comeback and scored the tying goal in the 87th minute thanks to Roger Rojas, but in the end Real España closed out the match and the round.
The two-legged final opens on December 8 in San Pedro Sula.
Comunicaciones, Heredia, Municipal and Marquense advanced to the Guatemalan Apertura semifinals after surviving quarterfinal challenges.
Defending champion Comunicaciones advanced 2-1 on aggregate over Suchitepequez thanks to a goalless draw at home on Saturday.
That same day, host Municipal captured its series against Malacateco 4-3 on aggregate thanks to a 2-1 win. Mario Rodriguez’s goal off a perfect Marvin Avila pass in the 71st minute proved to be the difference. The Rojos took a 13th minute lead on a Leonardo Monje tally, but Malacateco equalized 18 minutes later through Roberto Porras.
In a pair of Sunday games, Heredia upended Halcones 4-0 to take their series by the same score. Osmar López hit for hat-trick, while Wilfred Velasquez added the other.
Despite a 1-0 second-leg win, Universidad de San Carlos was eliminated by Marquense 3-1 on aggregate. Carlos Félix scored the game’s lone goal in the 30th minute.
The semifinal match-ups are: Marquense-Comunicaciones and Municipal-Heredia.
First-leg Costa Rican Invierno semifinal encounters on Sunday yielded victories for Saprissa and Herediano.
In a battle of the country’s two most decorated teams, Deyver Vega’s strike in the 63rd minute gave Saprissa a 1-0 win over second-seeded Alajuelense. The second leg will be played on December 9.
Top-seeded Herediano netted twice in the second half to defeat Cartagines, 2-0. Yosimar Arias converted a penalty in the 57th minute and Víctor Núñez doubled the lead six minutes later. The sides will meet again next Sunday.
Isidro Metapan continued its winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Atletico Marte in the first leg of the Salvadoran Apertura semifinals on Sunday. An own-goal from Marcelo Tejeda was enough for Metapan, which needed a single-game playoff to reach the knockout phase.
Host Juventud Independiente came back twice from single-goal deficits to draw 2-2 with FAS. Jefferson Viveros gave the visitor a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute, but Juventud equalized 40 minutes later through Uruguayan striker Jesus Toscanini. The Tigers regained the advantage in the 77th minute as Viveros completed his brace. With 10 minutes remaining in regulation time, Irvin Valdez leveled the score.