Copa latina

Clutch shot by Lopez lifts Real Honduras to victory


Special to The Miami Herald

Osman Lopez wanted to avoid the penalty-kick round but faced a similarly tense situation.

The Real Honduras defender was selected to shoot a seventh-foul free kick late in the team’s second-round Copa Latina match against Alianca Brasil on Saturday night. With the score tied at 1, Lopez fully knew the shot’s consequences.

Lopez calmly approached the placed ball on the top of the half circle and blasted a shot that landed high inside the left post. The successful conversion with three minutes remaining in regulation gave Real Honduras a 2-1 victory at Ted Hendricks Stadium.

“The most important thing is that the goal came at an opportune time,” Lopez said. “We had little time left and I wanted to put it in a spot that the goalkeeper could not reach.”

The winning goal also helped Lopez overcome an earlier unsuccessful seventh foul free kick which still resulted in Real Honduras’ other goal.

Milton Grazo gave Real Honduras a 1-0 lead with his goal in the 36th minute. Brasil goalkeeper Elizue De Almeida dived and deflected Lopez’s seventh-foul free kick but Brasil defenders failed to clear the shot. Grazo retrieved the deflection and blasted a shot from 5 yards that landed inside the right post.

“He made a great save but I should have placed it better,” Lopez said. “Thankfully, this [the second shot] landed where it was supposed to.”

Brasil erased Real Honduras’ advantage with Luis Carlos’ game-tying goal in the 71st minute. Joao Mendes sent a centering pass from the right wing to Carlos, who successfully converted a shot that landed inside the right post.

But Brasil could not avoid a seventh foul in the second half, resulting in Lopez’s kick. The win advances Real Honduras to the tournament quarterfinals against Alianza Mexico next Saturday night.

“It is going to be an even stronger challenge for us,” Lopez said. “But we are ready for whatever that will come our way.”

Copa Latina will continue with four additional second-round games Sunday. The first match, featuring Colombia FC and Limonense Costa Rica, starts at 1 p.m..

In other games Saturday:

•  Blue Star Honduras 5, Seleccion Argentina 0: Kevin Osorio scored in the 15th and 22nd minute as defending champion Blue Star secured the win with four first-half goals. Blue Star has outscored opponents, 12-0, in its first two matches.

•  Alianza Mexico 2, Argentina Granata 2 (Mexico wins 7-6, PKs): Nelson Ponse scored in the ninth round of penalty kicks as Mexico eliminated last year’s tournament runner-up.

Cristian Caporaletti scored in the 29th and 44th minutes to give Argentina a 2-0 halftime lead but Mexico rallied with second half goals from Henry Martinez in the 47th and 72nd minutes.

•  Jamaica Internaxionale 5, Ecuador 2: Akeeba Marshall continued his torrid tournament scoring as he struck four times in Jamaica’s second-round victory. After the first half ended 2-2, Marshall scored in the 67th, 68th and 85th minutes to lead to lead Jamaica to the quarterfinals.

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