Ayala shines for Antigua at Independiente

Antigua GK Victor Ayala came up with a big save to help secure a 4-2 penalty shootout victory for the Guatemalan club over Club Atletico Independiente of Panama in the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League Preliminary Round on Wednesday night at Panama City’s Rommel Fernandez Stadium.

The two sides played to a hard-fought 0-0 draw, resulting in a penalty shootout and Ayala’s top-notch save on Jose Fajardo’s spot kick paved the way for Antigua’s victory, earning them a date with Marathon of Honduras in the Round of 16 on November 3.

Josue Martinez had an early look for Antigua in the 10’ when his spinning shot had to be cleared off the line by the Independiente defense.

Independiente started gaining a foothold later in the half and the dynamic duo of Omar Browne and Fajardo almost hooked up for a goal, with the pass from Browne narrowly missing the head of Fajardo.

Antigua started the second half in strong fashion and Martinez was presented with another chance to break the deadlock, but his right-footed shot was blocked by Independiente GK Jose Guerra. Antigua’s Nicolas Martinez then almost pulled off a spectacular flying header only to see it sail wide.

Back came Independiente and Ayala had to be alert to prevent the hosts from scoring in the 71’. That was followed by a poor clearance from the Antigua defense in the 85’ that gifted a chance to Fajardo, who struck a shot wide.

It would prove to be the last scoring chance for either side, so matters had to be resolved in a penalty shootout. Antigua converted all four attempts, while Ayala stopped Independiente’s first kick through Fajardo, followed later by a miss over the crossbar from Juan Gonzalez that sealed the win for Antigua.