Santamaria says experience has been key to Grupoline’s futsal success
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The play of goalkeeper Alvaro Santamaria (green jersey, #1) has been key to Grupoline Futsal’s run to the 2017 CONCACAF Futsal Club Championship final in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Grupoline Futsal jumped out to a 3-0 lead Friday in its 2017 CONCACAF Futsal Club Championship semifinal against Soyapango FC, but then the tide started to turn.

 Soyapango’s Salvador Aguilar pulled a goal back in the 36th minute and then he converted a penalty kick two minutes later.

 Despite the dramatic shift in momentum, Grupoline held strong for a 3-2 win to earn a place in Saturday’s final against Utah Elite Futsal.

 “The team has shown that in the face of adversity, as it has demonstrated before against Mexico’s Sidekicks and Soyapango, that its maturity has been imposed in those different situations,” Grupoline goalkeeper Alvaro Santamaria told CONCACAF.com.

 That maturity has developed through experience in the international game as many Grupoline players also compete for Costa Rica.  Santamaria appeared in two matches at the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup, while key attackers Juan Cordero and Diego Zuñiga played in three and four, respectively.

 Cordero is the top scorer at the CONCACAF event with nine goals, followed by Zuñiga with seven.

 “It is important that most of the team have that experience for today, as it is a game in which the small details can make a difference and not losing composure will be important to achieve victory,” Santamaria said about the role of maturity in the decider against Utah Elite.

 The 29-year-old added other possible keys to lifting the trophy: “Maintaining our form of play and not falling into their rhythm of the game in order to avoid surprises in the match.”

 For Santamaria, winning the CONCACAF Futsal has many meanings.

 “It is a new opportunity and a new experience that futsal gives us to enjoy in the best way,” he finished.  “We have been grateful here in Honduras with the people's treatment and what better way to thank them by playing the best possible tournament.

 “We go with the mentality to win it and make history for our country in being the first team to win this tournament at the club level.”

 A win by Grupoline will mean that Costa Rica will hold national team and club CONCACAF titles simultaneously.

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