CONCACAF.com presents a summary from a thrilling weekend of domestic action across the Central American region:
The Saturday action opened in Managua, as Walter Ferretti edged Juventus de Managua 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium. A late goal from Juan Carlos Rosales -- the forward's first for Ferretti -- secured all three points, sending the 2010 Apertura champion to seven points and the top of the table.
In the second match at the National Stadium, defending champion Real Esteli drew 1-1 with host FC Managua. Medardo Martinez opened the scoring on 22 minutes for the host, but Samuel Wilson leveled ahead of the halftime whistle.
The Tren del Norte moved to five points, while Managua FC has four with three matches still to play in the round. Next weekend, Walter Ferretti hosts Real Esteli in Managua, while Managua FC faces off with last-place Juventus, which is on the brink of elimination after three straight losses to start the semifinal round.
The unfortunate seventh spot went to Vida, which fell short of the Liguilla after dropping its closer at home to Olimpia, 3-1. The league leading Lions enter the playoffs as the top seed, with an impressive 39 points from 18 matches.
Victoria locked down second place in rousing fashion with a 2-0 win at last place Real Sociedad. Edder Arias and Mauricio Copete scored for the Crabs.
The La Ceiba side now potentially awaits the winner of a playoff series between Marathon and Atletico Choloma, after the Green Monster dropped its final match at Deportes Savio, 1-0, finishing fourth. Atletico Choloma fared better on the road, drawing Motagua in Tegucigalpa, to halt the Eagles' three-game winning streak.
Motagua will now visit Real España in the first match of their series, which kicks off Thursday. The survivor will face either Olimpia or Victoria, depending on seeding of the winners of the first playoff round.
Angel Lombardo drew Plaza Amador level five minutes from time at La Chorrera, sending the visitors to third place with 26 points, one better than Chorrillo and Chepo.
The Tigrillos finished one goal better in goal differential than Chorrillo, after a 1-1 tie with Arabe Unido, giving Chepo fourth place and a playoff berth. That result in Colon also gave the regular season title to Rio Abajo, which knocked off Alianza 2-0 at home, culminating a surprising campaign. Ruben Guevara's side will now face Chepo in one semifinal, while Arabe Unido and Plaza Amador square off in the other.
Thanks to two goals from Christopher Meneses, La Liga scored a huge win in its visit to Herediano, knocking off the defending champions 4-2. The loss leaves Herediano third in the table, needing a win from its last two to clinch a playoff place
In San Jose, second half goals from Alejandro Castro and Ricardo Costa gave leader Saprissa a come-from-behind win over visiting San Carlos, and helped maintain its two-point lead over Alajuelense on top of the table.
Elsewhere, Limon held on to the fourth spot with a scoreless draw at Uruguay, while hard-charging Perez Zeledon, two points back of Limon with a game in hand, won again, 4-1 over Santos. Belen is also still in the playoff hunt despite a 2-2 draw at Carmelita.
A double from Alfredo Pacheco and goals from Shawn Martin and Paolo Suarez led the northwesterners to a convincing 4-1 win at Juventud Independiente, making Metapan the first team qualified for the post season.
Meanwhile, Alianza played to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Universidad de El Salvador, leaving the Albos two points behind the leaders. Aguila is also two back after playing to a 1-1 draw with FAS, which maintained fourth place, just three behind Metapan.
Luis Angel Firpo clung to its minimal playoff hopes by winning at Once Municipal, 3-1, while Santa Tecla and Atletico Marte -- both still with an outside shot at making the Liguilla -- will round out the match date on Tuesday.
Suchitepequez took a giant step towards the quarterfinals with a 1-1 tie at Mictlan on Sunday. Pablo Barros put the Deer ahead 20 minutes in, before Carlos Asprilla tied matters 13 minutes later for the host.
The draw leaves Suchi virtually assured of a playoff spot. After a 1-0 win over Universidad midweek, Comunicaciones continues to lead the Apertura with two regular season dates remaining.