Motagua beats Alianza FC on penalties

Goalkeeper Jonathan Rougier made two saves to give Honduran side Motagua a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Alianza of El Salvador in the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League Round of 16 on Wednesday night at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador, El Salvador.

The two teams battled to a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes, and from the spot the Catracho club proved superior to punch their ticket to the next round.

From the very start, there was no shortage of intensity and Motagua would carve out the first major scoring chance in the 23’ when a Rubilio Castillo header appeared goal-bound, but Alianza GK Mario Gonzalez made a superb save to keep it scoreless.

A minute later Walter Martinez was poised to break the deadlock, but he was unable to turn a Kevin Lopez cross into net at the back post. Lopez was presented with another chance in the early moments of the second half, but once again Gonzalez was up for the task, making a kick save.

Alianza started finding space on the counterattack and nearly found the game’s first goal just shy of the hour mark when an Oswaldo Blanco dummy for Michell Mercado saw the latter shoot just wide.

Alianza were creating problems for the Motagua defense and a tackle from Marcelo Santos on Alianza MF Wilfredo Cienfuegos resulted in a penalty in the 78’. Legendary FW Rodolfo Zelaya stepped to the spot and calmly stroked home the penalty to give Alianza a 1-0 lead.

The Zelaya goal made for a grandstand finish, with Motagua committing all numbers forward and they were handsomely rewarded in the 90+1’ when a rocket from Hector Castellanos rippled the net to make it 1-1, forcing a penalty shootout.

In the shootout, Rougier made two key stops and Castillo’s conversion in the fifth round clinched Motagua’s passage to the final eight of the tournament.