CONCACAF: Nine Goal Thriller at Cruz Azul; Matchday 2 Review
The second round of matches in the CONCACAF Champions League group phase have been completed and the competition is starting to hot up for all of the sixteen teams involved in North and Central America’s elite club competition. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest action.
After a winning start to the competition Toronto FC had to suffer defeat on Matchday 2 at the hands of Panamanians Arabe Unido. The Canadian champions lost their Group A encounter 1-0 and suffered the ignominy of having two players sent off. Arabe Unido’s goal was scored by Fidel Caesar five minutes before half-time but it wasn’t clear whether the ball had crossed the line or not but the referee was clear in his decision and awarded the goal. Five minutes after the break and the first sending off for Toronto FC when Nick LaBrocca’s sliding challenge on keeper Jose Calderon in the Arabe Unido penalty area was deemed dangerous. The result was probably a fair one seeing as the home side had made the most dangerous attacking plays but this will come as no consolation to Toronto who also had Fuad Mohamed sent off late in the game for after picking up a second yellow card for dissent. In the other game the rain and the goalmouth action didn’t stop in what was an amazing match between Cruz Azul and Real Salt Lake. Javier Orozco scored four times for Cruz Azul but it looked like those goals would mean little when Real Salt Lake’s Will Johnson equalized two minutes into stoppage time to give the game an incredible 4-4 scoreline. But just sixty seconds later Cruz Azul amazingly scored a fifth goal thanks to Christian Giménez which meant that the Mexicans finally won the game and joined the other teams in this group with three points after two matches. Matchday three sees Arabe Unido at home to Cruz Azul whilst Real Salt Lake will wish to forget that bitter defeat with a win against Toronto FC.
WATCH CRUZ AZUL v REAL SALT LAKE HIGHLIGHTS HERE:
The two winning teams from the opening round of Group B games faced off in Mexico on Matchday 2 as Santos Laguna met Columbus Crew to see if either could keep a 100% record. The game seemed to be petering out into a goalless stalemate until a dramatic stoppage time winner from Santos Laguna’s Jorge Estrada gave the Mexicans all three points at the death. This result allowed the losing teams from Matchday 1, Joe Public FC and C.S.D. Municipal the opportunity to gain some ground on the Americans but neither was able to take full advantage. Mario Rodriguez appeared to have given Municipal victory with his 77th minute effort but Joe Public secured a point three minutes into stoppage time through Micah Lewis. On Matchday 3 Joe Public play away at Columbus Crew while Municipal have a tough home tie against group leaders Santos Laguna.
Matchday two proved to be very disappointing for all American teams and this was confirmed with a 2-0 home defeat for the Seattle Sounders by Mexican side C.F. Monterrey in Group C. Neri Cardozo gave the visitors the lead four minutes before half-time and Aldo de Nigris sealed the win when firing home in the 58th minute to silence the home crowd and further the agony for the Sounders. The other match saw Hondurans C.D. Marathón travel to Costa Rica to take on Deportivo Saprissa and the visitors took the lead after 32 minutes after Victor Cordero was unfortunate to deflect the ball into his own net. His disappointment wouldn’t last long, however, as Saprissa began to dominate proceedings and equalized just a minute later through Alejandro Sequeira. Second half strikes from Jairo Arrieta, Josue Martinez and Armando Alonso allowed Saprissa to cruise through the tie in the end and the 4-1 scoreline was just for the efforts. On Matchday three Saprissa will hope to keep up momentum against bottom side Seattle whilst many will expect Monterrey to see off the challenge of Marathón.
WATCH SEATTLE SOUNDERS v CF MONTERREY HIGHLIGHTS HERE:
Puerto Rico Islanders got their first win in Group D brushing aside the challenge of El Salvador’s FAS by four goals to one. Jonathan Faña scored a brace whilst team mates David Foley and Nicholas Adderley also got in on the act for the CFU Caribbean champions with Williams Reyes scoring a consolation goal for FAS. Deportivo Toluca kept up the good record for Mexican teams on Matchday 2 at home to Hondurans C.D. Olimpia with a 4-0 demolition of their hapless opponents. Juan Cuevas bagged a brace for Toluca in the first ten minutes with second half goals from Mancilla and Arevalo adding to Toluca’s impressive goal tally. In the next round of games Toluca will face a difficult match-up against Puerto Rico Islanders while Olimpia and FAS will hope to get their Champions League campaigns up and running with a win.