Defending champion Blue Star Honduras appears primed for another long tournament run after a convincing performance in its Copa Latina opening match Saturday night.
Geovany Lopera scored three second-half goals and Carlos Calcagno scored twice in the first half as Blue Star routed La Union Cuba 7-0 at Ted Hendricks Stadium.
“Thank God things worked out well for us,” Blue Star coach Jorge Pavon said. “We didn’t underestimate our opponent and worked hard to get this positive result.”
Blue Star wasted little time pressuring Cuba’s defense and took a 1-0 lead on Ignacio Calcagno’s goal 11 minutes into the match.
Cuba goalkeeper Asiel Tejera deflected Carlos Palacios’ shot deep in the left wing area but toward an open Calcagno, who headed in a shot just outside the 6-yard box.
Blue Star increased its lead to 2-0 on Hosman Ramos’ goal in the 30th minute. Walter Ramirez centered a pass to Ramos, and Ramos beat Tejera with a shot from 12 yards.
Carlos Colcagno scored his second goal six minutes later for a 3-0 Blue Star advantage. Palacios’ crossing pass from the left wing found an unmarked Colcagno near the far post, where he converted a shot that landed inside the left post.
Blue Star continued attacking in the second half and increased its 3-0 halftime lead with Geovany Lopera’s goal in the 54th minute. Lopera converted on an 18-yard shot.
Taking advantage of an overmatched Cuba defense, Lopera scored his second goal in the 70th minute. Lopera retrieved a loose ball, ran unmarked 10 yards and successfully blasted a shot 3 yards inside the large area.
Lopera scored his third goal with nine minutes remaining in regulation. Gerardo Andino’s long pass found an open Lopera deep in the left wing area, where he converted on a shot that landed inside the left post.
Junior Alexandre closed the scoring for Blue Star with his goal in stoppage time.
Cuba’s best scoring threat was in the 74th minute when Carlos Rodriguez’s shot was a couple feet wide left.
The tournament continues Sunday with five first-round matches. In addition, to Blue Star Honduras, this year’s event will feature 2012 Copa Latina runner-up Argentina, five-time tournament champion Seleccion Haiti, Limonense Costa Rica and Soccer Locker.