Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Mexico: Pumas clinch tense Clausura title (+video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on May 23, 2011

UNAM Pumas have won Mexico’s Torneo Clausura thanks to a 3-2 aggregate victory in the final against Monarcas Morelia.

Both teams had shared the goals in a 1-1 draw in Friday’s first leg with Juan Francisco Palencia (UNAM) and Joao Rojas (Morelia) both hitting the target. So the scene was set for a thrilling finish in Sunday’s return fixture, played at the Pumas’ home ground of Estadio Olímpico Universitario, and it was the home side who opened the scoring on 14 minutes with Palencia converting an early spot kick. Just eleven minutes later parity was restored via the same method as Morelia won a penalty of their own which was scored by Jaime Lozano. The goal which ultimately decided the game and the championship came deep in the second half; Javier Cortés scoring an amazing goal which helped his team to their seventh national championship title.

WATCH 2ND LEG GOALS AND TITLE CELEBRATIONS HERE:

CONCACAF: Mexican quartet light up Champions League

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 30, 2010
CONCACAF Champions League logo

The logo for the CONCACAF Champions League

The CONCACAF Champions League, North and Central America’s footballing showpiece, has reached the last four stage and it’s an all-Mexican affair with the country’s domination of football in the region guaranteed to continue. The first legs of each tie are played on March 30-31 with the second legs being played one week later. “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” highlights each pairing’s current form:

TOLUCA v PACHUCA

Both of these teams had tough ties to qualify from in the last round. Toluca defeated Guatemalans C.S.D. Comunicaciones by the odd goal in five over two legs whilst Toluca were further challenged by 2008 Major League Soccer champions Columbus Crew, finally edging past the Americans 5-4 on aggregate. Perhaps the hectic schedule has provided a major distraction for these teams as they are far from sure of a place in the play-offs of the current Mexican League. Toluca, who are at home in the first leg of the semi-finals, are third in Group 1 and find themselves eleven points behind leaders Guadalajara but their recent form is good having won the last two Mexican League games since defeating Comunicaciones; a 3-2 win over Real San Luis followed by a 1-0 triumph over Tigres. Pachuca are also finding it difficult to qualify for the Mexican League play-offs as they find themselves ten points behind group leaders Monterrey in fourth place in Group 2. At least their recent league form is decent having secured four points out of the last six against Club América (2:2) and C.A. Monarcas Morelia (1:0).

1st Leg: Toluca v Pachuca (30/03/10)

2nd Leg: Pachuca v Toluca (07/04/10)

PUMAS UNAM v CRUZ AZUL

Cruz Azul are the record champions in the tournament’s previous guise of the CONCACAF Champions Cup having won it five times. However the last of these triumphs came in 1997 and they are desperate to bring home the trophy after thirteen long years. Los Cementeros secured their semi-final place with a 4-0 aggregate win over Panama’s Arabe Unido and will hope to emulate the result achieved against Pumas UNAM in last season’s CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals which Cruz Azul won 2-0 over two legs. The Pumas are in the final four thanks to their 6-3 win over Hondurans C.D. Marathón and will hope to be the better of Cruz Azul this time around. In their last two Mexican League games since ensuring Champions League semi-final qualification Pumas have beaten Jaguares (2:0) and drawn with Real San Luis (0:0) whilst Cruz Azul have beaten Tigres (4:0) but lost to Estudiantes Tecos (1:2) in their most recent league game. In Group 3 of the Mexican championship the Pumas are in second spot three points behind Santos Laguna and one ahead of Cruz Azul so perhaps that’s a slight psychological advantage for Pumas going into this continental joust.

1st Leg: Pumas UNAM v Cruz Azul (31/03/10)

2nd Leg: Cruz Azul v Pumas UNAM (06/04/10)

CONCACAF Champions League: Quarter-Final Preview

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 9, 2010
Concacaf Champions Cup

Atlante CF captain Federico Vilar lifts the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League trophy. Who will win the 2009-10 edition?

North and Central America’s elite club competition continues after a four month break with Mexican clubs threatening to continue their dominance of the tournament. Mexican clubs account for the last four winners of the competition and with half of the remaining eight teams in the quarter-final stage coming from the regional footballing superpower the dominance is expected to continue into this year. However there are four other teams ready to challenge this recent monopoly of the tournament with one team each from the USA, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama ready to give the Mexicans a run for their money. Here is Stoppage Time’s guide to the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals:

CSD COMUNICACIONES (Guatemala) v C.F. PACHUCA (Mexico)

Pachuca will wish to continue their recent record in this tournament having been triumphant in 2002, 2007 and 2008. They are expected to get through against 1978 champions Comunicaciones who are currently second in their domestic league, but who haven’t got the strength in depth of their more illustrious opponents. In saying that Comunicaciones can take heart in the fact that Pachuca have lost four of their nine matches in the current Mexican Clausura championship campaign and the Guatemalans did rest some players this weekend ahead of tonight’s clash. In the group stage Pachuca finished top of Group A by a comfortable five point margin from Panamanian side CD Arabe Unido whilst Comunicaciones finished second in Group D four points behind UNAM Pumas from Mexico.

COLUMBUS CREW (United States) v DEPORTIVO TOLUCA (Mexico)

Columbus Crew are playing in this competition for the third time in their history and will want to get past their previous best finish of a quarter-final place in the 2003 Champions Cup (as it was then called) against Mexican side Morelia. With the new MLS season not due to start for at least another few weeks the Americans will relish all the match practice they can get. Deportivo Toluca, on the other hand, are well into the Mexican Clausura season but they, like Pachuca, haven’t set the world alight with their recent form. In the group stage the Mexicans finished top of a very tight Group B finishing two and three points ahead of Hondurans C.D. Marathón and MLS side D.C. United respectively. Columbus Crew finished a distant second in Group C eight points behind Cruz Azul.

C.D. MARATHÓN (Honduras) v PUMAS de la  UNAM (Mexico)

UNAM were three times champions of the old CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1980, 1982 and 1989 but were defeated finalists as recently as 2005. The Pumas are going well in their domestic Clausura championship group and hope that they can finally experience some continental glory for the first time in a generation. They are expected to get past their opponents who are lying eighth in the Honduran league but who have been resting players ready for the continuation of this tournament. Having won the Torneo Apertura (Opening championship) before Christmas Marathón could afford to rest on their domestic laurels. They just about qualified from Group B having beaten American capital side D.C. United by a single point in the group phase while Pumas had a slightly easier progression with a four point advantage in first place over fellow quarter-finalists Comunicaciones.

ARABE UNIDO (Panama) v CRUZ AZUL (Mexico)

Joint record champions Cruz Azul have won this tournament in its former guise of the Champions Cup five times (1969, 1970, 1971, 1996, 1997) but were losing finalists last season against Mexican rivals Atlante C.F. (see picture). Cruz Azul also qualified for the Copa Libertadores final in 2001 but were unlucky to lose to Argentinian giants Boca Juniors on penalties after the two-legged final had finished 1-1. The Mexicans were the only team in all four groups to qualify for the quarter-finals with a 100% record and are firm favourites to get through to the final four against an Arabe Unido side who currently lie sixth in a very tight domestic league only two points behind championship leaders Chepo F.C. Arabe Unido finished three points ahead of US side Houston Dynamo in second place from Group A to get to this stage.