Three goals from inspired Honduras international striker Milton Nuñez led CSD Comunicaciones to a 4:0 victory against D.C. United in a rugged first leg of their FC Champions' Cup round-of-16 tie Wednesday at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.
D.C. United played with just nine men for nearly the final hour, after Richie Williams and Ryan Nelsen were sent off within four minutes of each other in the first half.
Comunicaciones came out looking to take advantage on their home field, and nearly took the lead after just 35 seconds when Andres Rivera saw his shot rebound back off the post after beating United goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
But over the next half-hour, the U.S. side began to exert control in the midfield, and close down the Comunicaciones attacking options led particularly by a dominant Eddie Pope in the back.
But the match completely turned around in the 30th minute, when Williams was sent off after receiving a second caution for dissent toward referee Rodrigo Badilla. Four minutes later, Nelsen was sent off for a hard foul on Rigoberto Gomez.
The numerical advantage opened up the match, and Comunicaciones took the vital first goal just before the halftime interval, Fredy Thompson slipping a pass to Nuñez, who evaded the attention of Ivan McKinley and beat Rimando with an angled left-footed blast.
In the second half, Comunicaciones technical director Carlos Miloc brought on Fredy Garcia in an attempt to widen the advantage, and in the 69th minute it finally paid off. Nuñez sent a ball into the area where Oscar Torlacoff and Rimando collided in trying to reach it, Torlacoff able to merely tap home into the unguarded goal.
Nuñez then gave the home side a nearly unbeatable advantage for the return match in seven days when he scored twice over the final 10 minutes. In the 80th minute, he knocked home from close range after Torlacoff headed down a corner kick, then finished off a pass from Gomez five minutes from time.
03.03.2002, Cd. Guatemala, Estadio Mateo Flores
CSD COMUNICACIONES - D.C. UNITED 4:0 (1:0)
Milton NUÑEZ 44', 79', 85'; Oscar TORLACOFF 69'
COM: Dany Ortiz - Erick Miranda, Gustavo Cabrera (54: Fredy Garcia), Alvaro Jimenez - Jorge Rodas (44: Edin Lopez), Nestor Martinez (40: Edgar Valencia), Andres Rivera, Rigoberto Gomez, Fredy Thompson - Oscar Torlacoff, Milton Nuñez
DCU: Nick Rimando - Brandon Prideaux, Ryan Nelsen, Eddie Pope, Ivan McKinley - Lazo Alavanja, Richie Williams, Jose Alegria (46: Bryan Namoff), Mark Lisi - Santino Quaranta (68: Mike Burke), Abdul Thompson Conteh (46: Craig Ziadie)
R: Rodrigo BADILLA (CRC)