Narciso Orellana (blue jersey) demonstrates the kind of quality defense that enabled El Salvador to shutout Curacao twice in the third round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. (Photo: FIFA.com)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Two games played, two wins.
That’s the record of head coach Jorge Rodriguez after El Salvador swept Curacao in the third round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 44-year-old, who is also in charge of Isidro Metapan, was handed the managerial reins on August 22, more than a month after Albert Roca’s resignation.
In both outings against the Caribbean side, the Cuscatlecos made early goals stand up, posting a pair of 1-0 victories. Alexander Larin struck in the 12th minute of the series opener on the road last Friday, while Jonathan Barrios did the same – although three minutes earlier – four days later in the second leg at the Estadio Cuscatlan.
After Tuesday’s encounter, Rodriguez acknowledged that the undertaking wasn’t a simple one, but the main objective was accomplished nonetheless.
“The match was difficult against a rival that played its part,” said Rodriguez. “In the end, the players gave maximum effort and attained qualification.
“Over the course of the match it was difficult because Curacao came looking for its result. Personally, I hoped that the match would be close like that. It’s always important to start off winning, but equally so with what occurred there (in Curacao) obliged us to score early in the game.”
Larin played all 180 minutes of the third-round pairing and praised El Salvador’s ability to keep Curacao off the scoreboard.
“It was a difficult match,” the 23-year-old noted. “It was tactically very concentrated on defense. They (the Curacao players) played for everything in our country, but we accomplished the objective that we had established.”
The Salvadorans earned the right to contest at least six more games on the journey to Russia, with Canada, Honduras and Mexico providing the Group A opposition in the fourth round.