The U-20 national team suffered more than expected to seal their ticket to the round of 16 of the CONCACAF U-20 Pre-World Cup in Honduras. The “blue” came out as a clear favorite at the Tegucigalpa National Stadium after defeating Guatemala with category on Sunday with a 5-1, while their rival this Tuesday, Aruba, had just lost 5-0 to Panama.
However, the Salvadorans were surprised in the 11th minute when a flaw in the Cuscatleca defense was brilliantly exploited by attacker Jaybrien Romano who received the ball in the area and outsped the defenders to sink the ball into the Salvadoran goal. with a flat touch.
The Cuscatlecos tried to react quickly and soon began to dominate the game as the Aruba team backed off to defend the early lead and speculated on the counterattack with only Romano as the lone winger. The minutes passed and the select team from Cuscatleca came and went to Erasmus’s goal, sometimes in a hurry and sometimes his shots were stopped with providential stretches from the Caribbean goalkeeper.
El Salvador had to suffer until extra time, which was five minutes in that first half, with the adverse score. When the 48th minute was running, an escape from the left by attacker Mayer Gil was stopped by a stomp from defender Anthony Maduro and it seemed that the central referee would let the actions run. But those in charge of the VAR reviewed the action, they communicated with the central judge and he went to consult the screen and indicated the maximum penalty in favor of El Salvador.
Jonathan Esquivel stood in front of the ball and charged the left side of goalkeeper Samir Erasmus, who until now was the hero who kept the goal unbeatable for the Caribbean. It was the 49th minute and El Salvador managed to go into the break with the long-awaited 1-1 draw.
The second part of the match showed another face for the Salvadorans because seven minutes into the action, when the 53rd minute was running, Eduardo Rivas took a center sent from the right to score with an accurate header the momentary 2-1, but that He injected new spirits into the cuscatlecos and put justice on the scoreboard in the face of the dominance that until then had been exerted on the select team.
Coach Gerson Pérez saw the need to make changes to refresh the team that had worked harder than they should have on a field in poor condition due to the constant rains that fell on the Honduran capital. And the fresh men came to give more strength to the national team, so that in the 75th minute, the recently entered Javier Mariona, with jersey number 20, received a filtered pass between the Aruba defense and with a quick touch he beat the Erasmus goalkeeper to make it 3-1.
And again, Mariona himself, in the 83rd minute, scored the fourth goal with a right-footed corner after receiving a cross that gave a bounce and left the central defender and the Aruba goalkeeper with no options. In this way, El Salvador seals its ticket to the round of 16 in the CONCACAF U-20 Pre-World Cup and advances in its dream of being a World Cup once again in that category.
El Salvador shares Group G with Guatemala and Panama, teams that will play later on the same stage. The pre-world championship awards four tickets to the Indonesian Under-20 World Cup and two tickets to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The next rival of the Salvadoran team will be Panama.