Players from Dragon (white jersey) celebrate after scoring against Santa Tecla in a playoff for a spot in the Salvadoran Clausura semifinals on May 7, 2014, in Usulutan, El Salvador. (Photo: Carlos Roberto Mejia Amaya)
USULUTAN, El Salvador – Dragon advanced to the 2014 Salvadoran Clausura semifinals after rallying to defeat Santa Tecla, 2-1, in a single-match playoff for fourth place on Wednesday at the Estadio Sergio Torres.
It is the first time that the Monstruo Verde – which won the last of its two league crowns in 1953 – is among the final four teams in a short tournament. Next up for the San Miguel-based side will be a two-legged series with top-seeded FAS.
Santa Tecla took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, when a left-sided corner by William Maldonado was headed down at the far post by Facundo Simioli. Before the Dragon defense could react, Ricardo Ferreira took to the air and found the back of the net with a remarkable scissors kick.
It did not take long for Dragon to reply, netting an equalizer nine minutes later. After some skillful dribbling on the left wing to free himself, Santos Ortiz got to the goal line and passed the ball back to Rommel Mejia, whose right-footed shot from 10-yards out beat goalkeeper Elmer Iglesias.
Before the half-hour mark, Mejia burst into the Santa Tecla box only to be taken down by Iglesias for a penalty. Veteran Williams Reyes successfully converted the kick from the spot to complete the scoreline in 28th minute.
The Clausura winner will qualify for the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, joining 2013 Apertura champion Isidro Metapan.