Two goals from striker Yendrick Ruiz gave the Costa Rican Herediano a home win on Thursday over the Panamanian Árabe Unido, which puts it near the Concacaf League final.
Goals from Ruiz, at minute 28 by way of penalty and 93 with a header, allowed Herediano to take advantage in the first leg of the semifinal against an Árabe Unido that fought to the end and will seek to reverse the score at home next week.
The first half was dominated by the local team that had the best chances to open the score with the speed of Jimmy Marín on the left side and the shots by striker Yendrick Ruiz.
In one of Marín's many incursions to the penalty area, his center hit the hand of Hormechea and Honduran referee Héctor Martínez sanctioned the penalty, which was converted into goal by Ruiz at minute 28 with a shot dead center of the goal.
The Panamanian goalkeeper Miguel Lloyd was insecure throughout the game, mainly in the air game, which was about to cost him a second goal when in a bad exit he left the ball available for Junior Diaz to strike.
Luckily for the Panamanian team, the shot by Diaz was not powerful and Roberto Chen could reject the shot on the goal line.
The first 15 minutes of the second half brought with it the best moments of the Árabe Unido in the game, because it had two clear chances to tie the score.
In the first Gil Mosquera entered the penalty area and in a one on one lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Daniel Cambronero, but the shot was too soft and gave Keyner Brown time to reject the ball near the goal.
The second occasion of the Panamanians was a center to the penalty area that Blas Pérez could not straighten towards the rival frame.
The rest of the game went on with little danger in goals until Ruiz appeared again with an accurate header at minute 93 when the referee was about to whistle the end of the game.
The second leg will be played in Panama next Thursday, September 27.
The Concacaf League, played by teams from Central America and the Caribbean, is the second most important tournament in the region, after the Champions League, which also includes clubs from Mexico, the United States and Canada.