• Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

    Central American Weekend Review

    One final is underway in Honduras, and another begins on Monday evening in Nicaragua, while the finalists have been determined in Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador.

    The Grand Final is all set in Guatemala, where a pair of high intensity clashes over the weekend sorted out the finalists of the Apertura 2012. The final pairs nothing less than the most historic duo in Guatemalan soccer, with Municipal and Comunicaciones set to dispute yet another championship.

    After a scoreless tie last week on the road against Malacateco, the Cremas fell behind early at the Estadio Cementos Progreso on Saturday night, when Edward Santeliz gave the Bulls and early lead in just the eight minute.

    But the team led by head coach Ronald Gonzalez reacted quickly, tying matters on 23 minutes as Jose Contreras breached the rival goal with a shot from outside the area. The Merengues continued to pressure, and were able to put away both the match and the series late in the first half, when Jairo Arreola scored a minute before halftime.

    Sunday, in the capital, Municipal overcame a rugged Heredia side, 3-2, to claim the other spot in the final. The Rojos came into the match having tied seven straight, but took an early lead on eight minutes through Marvin Avila at the Estadio El Trebol.

    The game evened out from there and, 34 minutes in, Enrique Miranda tied it up for Heredia by whipping a shot past Municipal goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Just two minutes later, though, the Reds were back on top, again through Avila, who added a second to his personal account to make the score 2-1.

    Miranda tied the match again three minutes into the second half, but with the visitors still needing another goal to go through, Darwin Oliva scored the winner for the home team, sending Municipal on to yet another final.

    In a game with plenty of action, Isidro Metapan earned a ticket back to the Salvadoran final, overcoming Aguila 3-2 to win their series 5-3 on aggregate. Its rival will be Alianza, which advanced with a scoreless tie at home.

    With a 2-1 advantage from the away leg, host Metapan needed only a tie to move on. Nevertheless, it fell behind twice, on two goals from Darwin Bonilla (44', 56').

    Metapan had tied matters in the 51st through Christhian Bautista and the team's leading scorer -- Nicolas Muñoz -- leveled in the 68th minute. Just three minutes later, Alfredo Pacheco converted penalty kick to close out the scoring.

    The northwestern side will face Alianza, which played FAS to a scoreless draw at home in San Salvador. Alianza, the second-place team in the regular season, advanced by way of a better regular season position after securing a 1-1 draw on the road in the away match.

    The final got underway between Olimpia and Victoria in La Ceiba, where the two teams played to scoreless stalemate, leaving the packed Estadio Ceibeno in anticipation of the final match.

    The few opportunities that the host did have were snuffed out by Olimpia goalkeeper Donis Escober, who among his various saves managed a sparkler on a Mario Romero header in the second half that looked destined to give Victoria - in search of a second-ever league crown - the lead.

    The series returns to Tegucigalpa, where the Lions will be in search of a 26th league title to cap the celebration of the club's centennial year.

    Defending champion Herediano topped Saprissa in dramatic fashion, earning a ticket back to the final, where El Team will face Alajuelense.

    With a lone goal from young midfielder Mauricio Nuñez, the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalist progress to the final of the Invierno 2012. Nuñez scored his goal in the 82nd minute on a left-footed volley from outside the area following a corner kick.

    Herediano will take on Alajuelense side that played to a scoreless tie at home to Limon. The locals qualified for the final after having taken the away leg, 1-0, last week at the National Stadium.

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