Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CONCACAF: Mexicans showing the way in Champions League

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 19, 2010
Pachuca

Pachuca are one of four Mexican teams in the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals

As convincing as it was predictable, four Mexican teams occupy the semi-final places in the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League after defeating opponents from four different nations in the quarter-finals. These results continue the trend set in recent years where Mexican clubs have dominated the tournament and it ensures that for the fifth year in succession the trophy will go to the footballing superpower in North and Central America.

The first quarter-final was completed on Tuesday night when defending champions Pachuca overcame the challenge of Guatemalan side Comunicaciones with a 2-1 second leg victory thanks to goals from Paul Nicolás Aguilar and Luis Montes with Rolando Fonseca replying for Comunicaciones via the penalty spot. The win meant that Pachuca won 3-2 on aggregate after the first leg, played in Guatemala one week earlier, had finished 1-1. Pachuca’s semi-final opponents will be Deportivo Toluca who overcame a tough test against Major League Soccer team Columbus Crew. After the first leg had finished 2-2 this was a topsy-turvy affair with Guillermo Barros Schelotto giving The Crew the lead on the stroke of half-time with a penalty kick. Toluca equalised just two minutes into the second half thanks to another penalty, this time scored by Héctor Mancilla and then António Naélson, known simly as Sinha, scored the first of two in the 57th minute to give Toluca the lead. Schelotto restored parity for Columbus Crew on 70 minutes but, not for the first time, they couldn’t hold on as Toluca went up the other end and scored the winner thanks to Sinha’s second goal on 72 minutes.

The other all-Mexican semi-final tie will be between Cruz Azul and UNAM Pumas who both had more comfortable wins against their quarter-final opponents. Cruz Azul, who have won this tournament a joint record five times, already had a cushion of a 1-0 lead from the first leg against Panamanian side CD Arabe Unido before putting the game to the sword with an easy 3-0 return leg victory at home thanks to goals from Javier Orozco (2) and César Villaluz to complete a convincing 4-0 aggregate win. Honduran champions Club Deportivo Marathón did win their first leg against UNAM Pumas 2-0 thanks to two penalties being converted by Walter Martínez and Carlos Mejía. However the Mexicans proved in last night’s second leg that the competition is a Marathón rather than a sprint (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one!) by hammering the Hondurans 6-1, including a brace apiece for Ismael Íñiguez and Francisco Palencia, therefore completing a 6-3 victory over the two legs.

SEMI-FINALS (dates to be decided)

UNAM Pumas v Cruz Azul

Deportivo Toluca v Pachuca

* – Teams on the left are at home in the first leg

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