Metro eases through Pantoja in leg one, 2:0
February 20, 2019
Admit it: you have never heard of Club Atletico Pantoja before their Champions League match-up against Metro was announced. Don't lie! Of course, you haven't.
It was obvious that this club from a country with little-to-no soccer history should pose no problem for Metro in the Round of 16. If the away leg is any indication, it shouldn't. Metro dominated in every area of the field, easily winning 2:0. The home side didn't record a single shot on goal.
Metro's lineup matched the one that started the season-ending playoff series, with one obvious exception: Marc Rzatkowski slid into Tyler Adams' slot. And the German didn't disappoint, controlling the game for the entire 90 minutes.
The first goal came off a corner kick in the 39th minute. After the Pantoja keeper failed to hold the ball, Alex Muyl did what Alex Muyl does best -- saved it from going over the endline. Eventually, the ball got to Bradley Wright-Phillips, and the Englishman smashed it off two Pantoja players and into the net. It was credited as an own goal to defender Jean Innocent, whose face was the ultimate victim.
Metro got breathing room in the 67th, after Rzatkowski found Alejandro Romero Gamarra on the right flank. Kaku, who had a field day running through the weakly Dominicans, sent a perfect cross to the left side of the six-yard box, where it was met by Daniel Royer. The Austrian slammed it in from close range.
Metro had numerous other chances to score. Omir Fernandez, seconds after making his first-team debut, has his shot saved. A Royer chip went sailing wide, and a Rzatkowski blast barely missed the right side of the net. At the end, a third was not needed, as Metro ran off comfortable winners.
The return leg still beckons, hopefully to be nothing more than a formality. And then, you will be able to forget that Club Atletico Pantoja ever existed...
Lineup: Robles, Lade, Long, Parker, Murillo, Davis, Rzatkowski, Muyl, Royer, Romero Gamarra, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Lawrence, Fernandez, White.