Nicaragua stole a victory from El Salvador when they drew at the very last minute of the opening match of the Copa de Naciones Digicel 2009, with a 1-1 score.
With this result, the “Pinoleros” (Nicaragua’s nickname), has provided the first surprise of the tournament, particularly as the El Salvador National Team is one of the favorites to win the Copa Digicel.
During the first half of the match, Nicaragua dominated the rhythm of the match, trying to break the defense of Coach Carlos de los Cobos, but the El Salvador coach knew how to keep his team standing and how to stop any attempts to score by the “Pinoleras”. Despite Nicaragua having better control of the ball, its competitor’s attempts were more strategic, causing greater danger. El Salvador played its game so well that by the 17th minute they opened the score.
Forward, Carlos Ayala, won the deep line, took control of the ball and scored the first goal against Nicaragua, even when Silvio Aviles tried to deflect the shot.
With the score in favor of El Salvador, the players increased their pace to attempt a second goal that would secure its position – causing a big threat to Dennis Espinoza, Nicaragua’s goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, Nicaragua never let up its determination to score its first goal. In spite of being behind on the scoreboard, the team continued to show order in its game plan and constantly searched for an entry point. Without a doubt, scoring was the ingredient that this football banquet needed and both teams easily forgot their defensive system of play and decided to attack.
The course of the game changed for El Salvador when Saman Martin received a red card for a double fault. Nicaragua took advantage of this opportunity and took control of the ball to pull up on its rival. By the end of the first half, the “Pinoleros” almost made a rapid counter attack but front-liner Armando Reyes, couldn’t get past the goalkeeper Alexander Escobar.
During the second half, the Cuscatlecos (nickname for El Salvador team) forgot the score difference and started the second half with all of its might. Christian Castillo surprised goalkeeper Espinoza with a long distance shot, but front-liner Ulises Lopez responded with an effective defense.
After these two intense plays, the pace of the match slowed down with the action moving to midfield and both teams defending their position.
With just a few minutes left of play, everyone in the stadium regarded El Salvador as the winners, but they were all taken by surprise by substitute Marlon Medina, who took advantage of some confusion in the defense line and shot past the goal keeper Escobar to even the score.
At the final whistle, both teams left the field with one point each after their first match of the Copa de Naciones Digicel 2009. Both teams will reunite to play each other on Saturday.
El Salvador 1 Nicaragua 1
Alexander Escobar Dennis Espinoza
Marvin Rosales David Solórzano
Luís Campos Silvio Avilés
Samán Martins Armando Campos
Ramón Sánchez Carlos Alonso
Salvador Correas Armando Reyes
Terys Umanzor José Palacios
Cristian Castillo Samuel Wilson
Miguel Montes Feliz Zeledón
Carlos Ayala Franklin López
Ósale Romero Juan Barrera
(C. Ayala) (A. Reyes)
Carlos Mendieta Levis Alvarado
(R. Corrales) (J. Palacios)
Oscar Jiménez Marlon Medina
(C. Castillo) (A. Coyado)
Scores: S. Avilés autogol y M. Medina
Yellow Cards: A. Coyado, D. Solórzano de Nicaragua. S. Martins, R. Corrales y M. Rosales de El Salvador
Red cards: S. Martins
Referee: Carlos Batres
Stadium: National Stadium Tegucigalpa