Colombia’s Independence Festival, held just outside Sun Life Stadium, was ruined Sunday — at least for the few thousand Millonarios soccer fans who attended the exhibition match against Olimpia of Honduras.
Jairo Puerto Herrera scored on a diving header in the 76th minute to lead Olimpia to a 2-1 victory over Millonarios inside Sun Life. Both teams are in their preseason before their leagues begin play.
No attendance figures were announced, but press box estimates ranged between 3,000 and 5,000 fans, most of whom were rooting for Millonarios, a Bogota-based club team.
Puerto Herrera’s goal, which snapped a 1-1 tie, came on an assist by Javier Portillo. And Olimpia goalie Noel Valladares, who had four saves, protected the lead until the clock expired.
“We knew how to define ourselves in the key moments,” said Valladares, speaking in Spanish. “We’re leaving happy.”
The same cannot be said for Millonarios, which won the second half of the Colombian league last year and was thought to be favorites in this match.
That was especially true considering that Millonarios had its normal group of starters while Olimpia was missing six regulars who are currently playing with the national team in the Gold Cup.
But that did not stop Olimpia from scoring first.
Douglas Caetano Mattoso scored in the 34th minute on a free kick from 25 yards out. Kicking from the right side, Caetano Mattoso seemed to surprise goalie Luis Delgado to the near post. Delgado got a hand on the shot, but could not prevent the goal.
Millonarios scored in the 51st minute on a goal by forward Dyron Moreno, who entered the game at the start of the second half. The assist went to Watson Renteria.
Moreno, who signed with Millonarios two days ago, came streaking in from the right side and booted the ball just inside the far post, beating Valladares, who was a 2010 World Cup starter for Honduras in South Africa.
Millonarios, which has won a Colombian-league-record 14 first-division titles, seemed to have regained momentum.
But Olimpia, which has won a Honduran-league-record 26 titles, battled back in the hot and humid conditions.
“We think we have a competitive team,” Valladares said. “We know that every team (in our league) wants to beat Olimpia, so we are preparing for that.”