Estonia tops El Salvador 2-0 in tense soccer game

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Estonia defeated El Salvador 2-0 Wednesday night in an exhibition match halted by the referee in the 89th minute because of safety concerns for the linesmen.

Referee Ricardo Salazar suspended the match when the crowd began to pelt a member of his crew with trash. Salvadorian fans were protesting an earlier decision and began throwing objects at the linesman.

In front of a heavily Salvadorian crowd of nearly 15,000 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, El Salvador controlled action early. But Estonian captain Ragnar Klavan scored in the 71st minute when a free kick by Tarmo Kink was mishandled by goalkeeper Rafael Fuentes. The rebound fell to Klavan, who finished from close range.

Estonia doubled the lead in the 86th minute when Raio Piiroja scored on a header off a free kick.

There was an MLS presence on both clubs. Portland defender Steve Purdy played 88 minutes for El Salvador, and New York midfielder Joel Lindpere played all game for Estonia.

La Selecta controlled the early stages of the first half, dominating possession against the European nation, but struggled to crack the Estonians' organized defense. El Salvador nearly broke through in the 33rd minute when midfielder Lester Blanco fired a shot from 35 yards that sailed just over the crossbar.

At the outset of the second half, a shot from Kink forced a diving save from Fuentes. Rafael Burgos nearly put El Salvador up in the 54th minute when he broke through the defense, but launched a shot just wide of the goal.

Salvadorian midfielder Osael Romero launched a free kick in the 69th that bounced off the goal post before deflecting off the back of goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko and out of play.

Estonia nearly doubled the lead just four minutes after Klavan's goal when Gert Kams beat a defender, but saw his shot go just wide.

The international friendly featured a pair of current MLS players, Portland Timbers defender Steve Purdy and New York Red Bulls midfielder Joel Lindpere. The Red Bulls midfielder went 89 minutes for Estonia, while Purdy played 88 minutes for La Selecta before coming off with an apparent eye injury. Purdy left the stadium by ambulance after the match.