Pappa nets pair as Guatemala tops El Salvador

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Guatemala continued its dominance of El Salvador in the Central American Cup (CCA) by recording a 2-1 victory in a Group A match at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium on Wednesday night.

Midfielder Marco Pappa scored a goal in each half in the last game of a tripleheader. Rafael Burgos tallied El Salvador's lone goal.

The Guatemalans never have lost to El Salvador in 10 CCA matches, improving to 6-4-0.  The Salvadorans are winless in 10 of their last 11 CCA matches (1-3-7).

In contrast to the nine previous meetings between the teams in which eight total goals were recorded, this game was a relatively high-scoring affair.

Pappa connected for his first goal on a rather unusual sequence in the 26th minute as two Salvadoran players had touches, before he beat goalkeeper Henry Hernandez.  The Seattle Sounders midfielder fired a shot from the right side that deflected off Alexander Mendoza to his left to teammate Ibsen Castro, who was in an awkward position and could not clear it out of the penalty area. The ball found its way back to Pappa and he drilled home a 10-yard shot to the near post for a 1-0 lead.

The Salvadorans had more opportunities than their foes in the opening half, but they were either unlucky or Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez was up to the challenge.  Alexander Larin beat Jerez in the 24th minute only to be ruled offside.

Pappa doubled the lead in the 64th minute, launching a 15-yard shot off a left-wing feed by Jose Contreras into the back of the net. 

The Guatemalans needed that goal because four minutes later Burgos managed to score from a difficult angle to the left of the goal with three defenders in front of him and Jerez out of the net to slice the deficit in half.  The goal broke El Salvador's five-game scoring drought against the Guatemalans in the CCA dating back to a 1-1 draw on March 19, 1999. 

Guatemala next plays Belize at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on September 7 while El Salvador meets Honduras later that day.

To view the Highlights of this game, click here.