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RECAP: Pair of late goals earn Forge FC 2-2 draw with Motagua in first leg of CONCACAF League semifinal
Canadian Premier League

Late goals from Joshua Navarro and Kwame Awuah earned Forge FC a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their CONCACAF League semifinal matchup against Hondruan side Motagua on Wednesday evening.

Motagua had the first good chance of the match at Tim Hortons Field, with Diego Auzqui testing Triston Henry from long range. The Forge goalkeeper made the save, diving to his left and pushing the ball away,¬†but the visitors¬†couldn’t take advantage of the rebound.

Forge were dealt a blow toward the end of the first half, as Daniel Krutzen went down with what appeared to be a knee injury after landing awkwardly. He tried to stay in the game, but a few minutes later went down again, and was forced to leave the game.

The visitors took the lead moments later, as Honduran national team attacker Kevin Lopez hammered the ball into the roof of the goal in the 43rd minute. A powerful cross in from the left flank was flicked on in front of goal by another Motagua player, before it landed at the feet of Lopez.

Forge were down a man, as Bobby Smyrniotis was waiting to replace Krutzen, and Motagua took full advantage. Kwame Awuah tried to head the high ball away, but missed, allowing Lopez to take a touch and smash it home from the edge of the six-yard box, sending his team into halftime up a goal.

A few minutes after halftime, Josh Navarro came agonizingly close to tying the game at one goal apiece. After Tristan Borges charged into the penalty area following a through ball between two Motagua defenders, he played a low ball across the box. Navarro met it at the back post, but his first-time shot struck the post, with the rebound striking him and going out for a goal kick.

Marcelo Pereira doubled the lead for the Honduran side, heading the ball home from a free kick. Auzqui curled the ball into the penalty area, and Pereira met the ball in the air, sending a thumping header toward the net. Triston Henry got a hand to it, but wasn’t able to keep it out of the net.

Forge kept pushing for an important goal, and in the 84th minute were rewarded. On the exact same play as their third goal against York United on Sunday, Kyle Bekker swung a corner into a dangerous area, and Navarro flicked a header toward the back post. It bounced inside the far post, giving Forge a deserved goal and a lifeline in this match.

The home side kept pushing for an equalizer, and it came courtesy of Kwame Awuah. After a shot from distance was pushed away by the Motagua goalkeeper, Awuah charged in and placed the ball into the bottom right corner, before wheeling away in celebration.

The two sides meet next on Wednesday, December 1, for the second leg down in Honduras. That match will take place at Estadio Nacional in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. After that, Forge will return to Canada and turn their attention to the Canadian Premier League final against Pacific FC on December 5 at Tim Hortons Field.


BOX SCORE

Goals

43‚Ä≤ ‚ÄĒ Kevin Lopez (Motagua)

64′ — Marcelo Pereira (Motagua)

84′ — Joshua Navarro (Forge FC)

90+4′ — Kwame Awuah (Forge FC)

Discipline

45‚Ä≤ ‚ÄĒ Yellow: Kevin Lopez (Motagua)

63′ — Yellow: Elimane Ciss√© (Forge FC)

88′ — Yellow: Omar Elvir (Motagua)