The national anthem is performed ahead of the inaugural soccer match of the Canadian Premier League between Forge FC of Hamilton and York 9 in Hamilton, Ont. Saturday, April 27, 2019. Canadian Premier League champion Forge FC takes on El Salvador's CD Municipal Limeno in a CONCACAF League preliminary-round match Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett

Forge FC scores late to win CONCACAF League preliminary-round game in El Salvador

Forge FC scores late to win CONCACAF League preliminary-round game in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Substitute Anthony Novak’s 83rd-minute goal lifted 10-man Forge FC to a 2-1 victory over El Salvador’s CD Municipal Limeno in a Scotiabank CONCACAF League preliminary-round game Thursday.

Novak controlled a fine ball from Dominic Samuel that landed just inside the penalty box and hammered a shot past goalkeeper William Torres. The goal came after some a stretch of pressure from the Canadian side with Mo Babouli tormenting Limeno defenders.

Forge lost fullback Johnny Grant in the 64th minute for a second yellow card in a choppy second half that featured a lot of whistles from Honduran referee Selvin Brown.

Forge will stay in Central America, heading directly to Panama for a Nov. 3 round-of-16 date with Tauro FC.

The 22-team CONCACAF League competition is a feeder tournament, sending the winner and next five best-ranked clubs to the 2021 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.

Thursday’s game marked the first action for Hamilton’s Forge since Sept. 19 when it defeated HFX Wanderers FC in the Island Games final. Municipal Limeno, meanwhile, is two games into its new season and played on the weekend.

Forge fielded the same starting 11 as in the Canadian Premier League final with the exception of Kadell Thomas coming in for suspended midfielder Kwame Awuah.

Forge had the better start but Limeno, making its CONCACAF League debut, came on as the first half wore on.

Forge’s David Choiniere opened the scoring in the 21st minute, the beneficiary of a marvellous Babouli pass. Choiniere’s run took him between the centre backs before sliding a left footed shot past an onrushing Torres.

Limeno tied it up in the 38th minute through Kevin Oviedo. The Forge defence converged on Harold Alas high in the penalty box and he laid the ball off to an open Oviedo, whose shot overpowered Triston Henry.

There were danger signs in the 15th minute after a giveaway by Forge defender Daniel Krutzen. But Edwin Sanchez couldn’t hit the target, seeming unsure whether to deliver a shot or cross.

At the other end, Thomas was a threat down the left flank.

Henry had to play sweeper in the 20th minute to take care of a through ball that split the defender. Limeno caught Forge napping with a quick free kick in the 28th minute, while Henry was organizing his defensive wall, but the shot was wide.

Forge cut open the Limeno defence again the 36th minute but Babouli’s shot went wide. Henry made a diving stop in the 42nd minute to deny Sanchez.

Forge came close in the 53rd minute but Krutzen’s header off a corner glanced off the crossbar. Henry was called into action at the other end in the 55th, parrying a header off a corner.

Limeno had difficulty taking advantage of the man-advantage and had trouble dealing with Babouli’s offensive trickery.

Originally slated to run from July to November, the CONCACAF League was postponed due to the global pandemic. The competition, which kicked off Tuesday, is scheduled to run through Jan. 28.

COVID-19 continues to dog the tournament, however.

Thursday’s match between Costa Rica’s LD Alajuelense and the Dominican’s Cibao FC was postponed pending further testing in the wake of ” inconsistencies which raise the possibility that (pre-game) CONCACAF protocols were not followed.”

Tuesday’s game between Haiti’s Arcahaie FC and Belize’s Verdes FC was postponed just hours before kickoff after four players and four staff members from Verdes FC tested positive.

There were also positive tests ahead of the preliminary-round match between El Salvador’s CD FAS and Nicaragua’s Managua FC, but not enough to change Tuesday’s kickoff.

Thursday’s game was played at an empty Estadio Cuscatlan, the national stadium in the El Salvador capital rather than at Limeno’s more modest home stadium in Santa Rosa de Lima, some 170 kilometres away.

Preliminary-round and round-of-16 matches are being played as single-game ties at the highest-ranked club’s stadium. All other rounds will be played as home and away ties.

The CPL champions were without defender Klaidi Cela, who tore knee ligaments in the CPL final, and forward Chris Nanco, who suffered a hamstring injury at the Island Games. Nanco could join the team in Panama.

Last year, Forge dispatched Guatemala’s Antigua GFC 2-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round before losing 4-2 on aggregate to Honduras’ Olimpia in the round of 16.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020

The Canadian Press

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer property owners will receive their 2019 property assessment notices in the next few days.  (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer awaiting more details on how federal budget impacts city

The City of Red Deer is awaiting more information on how much… Continue reading

With a ban on sit-in dining once again in place, Las Palmeras owner Andre Lemus is gearing up for more takeout and delivery business. He has also applied to set up an outdoor patio, where dining is allowed under new restrictions. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Big interest in outdoor patios in Red Deer as sit-down dining banned again

City of Red Deer has tweaked its patio regulations to make it easier to get a permit

Artist Delree Dumont has painted an Indigenous mural at St. Joseph High School. (Contributed photo)
Indigenous mural painted on Red Deer high school walls

A new Indigenous mural now sits on the walls of St. Joseph… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Liz Weston: How the pandemic has shaken up retirement

Liz Weston: How the pandemic has shaken up retirement

Asad Behrawa performs a Muslim call to prayer over a loudspeaker at the Rahma Mosque west of Edmonton on Thursday, April 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Emotions show as call to prayer broadcast during second Ramadan in lockdown

Emotions show as call to prayer broadcast during second Ramadan in lockdown

‘Midnight hour of need’: St. Vincent pleads for global help

‘Midnight hour of need’: St. Vincent pleads for global help

In this image from video, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discusses motions before the court Thursday, April 15, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals top up long-term plan for affordable housing

Liberals top up long-term plan for affordable housing

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal Budget 2021: Liberals bank on child care, business aid to prod growth

Federal Budget 2021: Liberals bank on child care, business aid to prod growth

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal Budget 2021: Liberals focus on clean technology for climate spending

Federal Budget 2021: Liberals focus on clean technology for climate spending

Federal Budget 2021: Liberals extend COVID-19 aid with election top of mind

Federal Budget 2021: Liberals extend COVID-19 aid with election top of mind

Most Read