The opening day of the 2019 Concacaf Champions League season had a few upsets, with Central American minnows Independiente and Saprissa beating Toronto FC and Tigres UANL respectively and the Houston Dynamo narrowly defeating Guastatoya.
Santos would have none of that, soundly defeating Marathón 6-2 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Marathón came out swinging, keeping possession well and taking the game to Santos. Santos looked a bit back on their heels early despite playing their usual starting eleven. Santos would however get on the board in the 19th minute when Javier Correa got a throw in deep, ran almost to the end line, and hit a powerful, sharp angle shot that beat Denovan Torres.
In the 21st minute, Correa had another opportunity when he was played onside and one-on-one with the goalkeeper. However Correa slowed to take his shot and Samuel Cordova would come from behind and pick his pocket, putting the ball out for a corner kick.
Marathón would keep pressing, looking for an equalizer, but a fantastic four touch counterattacking sequence would result in the second goal of the night for Santos. José Abella hit a ball forward to Julio Furch, who took a touch wide to José Juan “Gallito” Vázquez, who played it through to Correa who shot another past Torres to put Santos up 2-0 in the 32nd minute.
Santos wasn’t done though. In the 37th Brian Lozano put on a dribbling clinic, weaving through the Marathón defense. He’d undergo a heavy challenge and the ball skipped forward. A defender tried to clear it but it went right into the shin of Javier Correa and in for Correa’s hat-trick.
Marathón’s players looked visibly stunned after the third goal, and then things got Concacaf-y. Two Santos players went off injured at the half thanks to elbows thrown by Marathón forwards during aerial challenges.
Diego Valdés hit a shot in the 48th minute that Torres got his hands on but almost rolled in anyway. On the resulting corner kick, the ball would fall to the feet of center back Matheus Doría who would hit the ball hard into the open net.
Marathón would draw one back in the 50th minute though when Marlon Ramirez would chest down a pass and blast a shot past Jonathan Orozco from close range. The goal would be Marathón’s first goal in Concacaf Champions League play in seven years.
Santos would pile on the misery though. In the 60th minute, Brian Lozano would make a run down the right side of the pitch and hit a cross toward Julio Furch. Torres would come off of his line and make a diving poke at the ball but it made it only as far as Marlos Moreno, who drilled home Santos’ fifth of the evening.
Julio Furch would pile on the misery for the hosts when he hit a rocket from just outside of the box in the 67th minute past Torres to make it 6-1.
Marathón didn’t quit though. Yustin Arboleda would chest down a ball in the box and get Hugo Nervo to overcommit to a sliding tackle, firing it past the prone center back and Jona Orozco to make it 6-2 in the 74th minute.
Brian Lozano almost added another in the 80th minute when he chipped Torres but his shot went off of the post. Former Atlas and Houston Dynamo forward Carlo Costly would also smash one off of the crossbar, but he was adjudged to have been played in an offside position. In the end, it would be Santos with the convincing 6-2 win.
Marathón will face Honduras Progreso in El Progreso on Saturday and Santos will host Toluca on Sunday before the two teams meet in Torreón on Wednesday to play the second leg of the round.
CD Marathón: Denovan Torres; Samuel Cordova, Caue Fernandes, Bryan Johnson, Bryan Barrios; Edwin Solano (Yaudel Lahera, 64’), Mayron Flores (Marlon Ramírez, 34’), Allan Banegas, Carlos Róchez (Carlo Costly, 46’); Yustin Arboleda, Carlos Discua
1️⃣1️⃣ Nuestro once titular de esta noche ante el Santos Laguna. ¡Vamos Marathón!— CD Marathón (@CDMarathon) February 21, 2019
CD Marathón Club Santos #MarathónSantosLaguna #Concachampions #SCCL2019 #SoyDelVerdeSoyFeliz #SanPedroSula #Honduras pic.twitter.com/e1pgkxJCHN
Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Jesús Angulo, Matheus Doría, Hugo Nervo, José Abella; Ayrton Preciado (Marlos Moreno, 56’), José Juan Vázquez (Ulíses Rivas, 46’), Diego Valdés Brian Lozano; Javier Correa (Deinner Quiñones, 63’), Julio Furch
Scoring: CD Marathón - Marlon Ramirez (50’), Yustin Arboleda (74’); Santos Laguna - Javier Correa (21’, 32’, 37’), Matheus Doría (48’), Marlos Moreno (60’), Julio Furch (67’)
Disciplinary: CD Marathón - Mayron Flores (Yellow - 28’), Allan Banegas (Yellow - 43’), Edwin Solano (Yellow - 45+2’); Santos Laguna - José Abella (Yellow - 13’), Ulíses Rivas (Yellow - 84’)