Heading into the contest, Real Esteli of Nicaragua had never advanced past a round in Concacaf competition, but that all changed thanks to Jorge Betancur’s first half strike. The decisive moment came in the 19’, beginning with Juan Barrera’s dashing run down the right flank.
The Nicaraguan National Team all-time leading scorer then crossed for Henry Garcia, who had two cracks at goal but was blocked each time. Yet on the second rebound Betancur appeared and with calm and composure, he fired a right-footed shot into net to create a magical moment that will forever live in Real Esteli lore.
Herediano came out for the second half with a sense of urgency in hopes of pulling level with Real Esteli. The 2018 SCL champions poked and prodded inside the Real Esteli area and in the 70’ they were able to get the chance they needed.
A looping corner kick was headed back across goal and 2018 SCL Golden Ball winner Yendrick Ruiz was set to become the hero once again, only to see his shot bang off the post and out.