San Juan – First-half goals by Petter Villegas and Kendall Jagdeosingh gave the 10-man Puerto Rico Islanders a 2:1 victory over Tauro FC on Tuesday night in the opening Group Stage game for both teams in the CONCACAF Champions League™.
Villegas scored in the 11th and Jagdeosingh added his in the 26th, continuing the surprising run of the Islanders, who play in what is essentially the second division of North American soccer. Edwin Aguilar, who scored both goals in Tauro’s 2:0 Preliminary Round first-leg victory over Chivas USA, pulled the Panamanian side within a goal in the 58th.
Puerto Rico played the final 21 minutes a man down after midfielder James Marcelin drew a second yellow card for a foul on Jhoan Melo, but still moved atop Group D with Club Santos Laguna set to host CSD Munipal on Wednesday.
It was the second goal in as many games for Jagdeosingh, who also scored in the Islanders’ 2:1 second-leg victory over Costa Rica’s LD Alajuelense in the Preliminary Round, a result which eliminated the two-time CONCACAF Champions’ Cup winner.
Puerto Rico had the better of play early. Villegas was left unmarked on the left side of the penalty area, settled a looping ball from Jonathan Steele with his right and struck a ball with his right just under the bar from about 15 yards.
Jagdeosingh doubled the advantage with a largely individual effort, twisting to create space for himself 30 yards from goal and getting the ball on his left foot before driving a shot into the upper left corner that goalkeeper Willington Dominguez was able to deflect with his fingers but not enough to stop.
Puerto Rico also had another goal by John Krause disallowed for offside in the 16th.
Tauro largely was limited to shots from distance in the first half with its best chance coming when Islanders goalkeeper Bill Gaudette misplayed a ball and let it bounce over his head in the 43rd, but Luis Esscobar fell in the penalty area and wasn’t able to capitalize.
Puerto Rico had the majority of possession in the second half as well, but Tauro scored against the run of play when Aguilar split two defenders and looped a header over Gaudette as he ran through the top of the penalty area