For the sixth consecutive year, Copa Latina will have a Honduran team in the final. Standing in defending champion Blue Star Honduras’ path to the championship match is a fellow Honduran rival.
Blue Star reached the tournament final four after another convincing performance Saturday night at Ted Hendricks Stadium.
Ignacio Calcagnio scored twice to lead Blue Star past Jamaica Internaxionale, 3-0, in a quarterfinal match. Hosman Ramos scored the third goal as Blue Star has outscored opponents, 15-0, in its first three Copa Latina games.
Blue Star will face Real Honduras in the semifinals. Real Honduras advanced to its first semifinal since 2009 following a 2-0 victory over Alianza Mexico in the first quarterfinal Saturday.
“When you keep advancing, the matches are going to get tighter,” Real Honduras coach Israel Gutierrez said. “We had some tense moments but achieved the result.”
Fernando Peña scored both goals as Real Honduras overcame a tough challenge from Alianza Mexico, which had advanced to the final eight after it eliminated last year’s tournament runner-up Argentina Granate in the second round.
Real Honduras took a 1-0 lead on Peña’s goal in the 24th minute. Mexico goalkeeper Boyer Beaudelaire dived and deflected Mackerby Poly Polynice’s shot deep in the left wing area. Peña pounced on the deflection and blasted a shot into the unguarded net.
Beauderlaire kept Mexico at the one-goal deficit when he deflected Osman Lopez’s seventh foul free kick in the 70th minute.
Despite its slim advantage, Real Honduras remained aggressive throughout the second half and Peña found another opening during stoppage time when his shot from 10 yards landed inside the left post.
“Our rival was a good team with solid ball handling skills,” Gutierrez said. “We had to completely focus on our defense. Fortunately, we got the second goal, when things got desperate for them.”
Copa Latina’s two remaining quarterfinal matches will be played Sunday. Firpo El Salvador and Uruguay Kendall will meet in the first game at 5 p.m., followed immediately by Limonense Costa Rica and the Haiti All-Stars.