Action from the CONCACAF Champions League match between host Alajuelense (right) and Sporting San Miguelito on September 26, 2013, in Alajuela, Costa Rica. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
ALAJUELA, Costa Rica -- Alajuelense positioned itself for a chance to reach the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals for the first time with a 2-0 Group 4 win over Sporting San Miguelito on Thursday at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank.
Jerry Palacios struck for the first goal and set-up substitute Alejandro Alipizar's tally for the Costa Rican side (2-0-1, six points), which will need only a draw in its October 22 group finale at Club America (2-0-1, 6 points) to progress to the knockout phase. The result eliminated Sporting (1-0-3, 3 points) from the competition.
The Manudos, who defeated visiting Club America 1-0 last month, have never lost a CCL game at home, improving to 6-2-0 in eight all-time outings.
After a frustrating first half in which he had two near chances, Palacios finally solved goalkeeper Humberto Pelaez in the 62nd minute. The Honduras international took a right-wing feed from Alvaro Sanchez and beat Pelaez to the far right post for a 1-0 lead.
Palacios helped the host to a second goal in the 76th minute as he fed Alipizar a short pass that he deposited to the left of Pelaez from close range. It was the 34-year-old’s fifth career CCL goal, scored with three different teams.
Alipizar could have added a third goal, but he was denied by Pelaez from point-blank range in the 90th minute.