• Thursday Aug 04, 2011

    Alpha scores twice, Herediano easily advances

    GEORGETOWN, Guyana - Herediano rallied with a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes and drew 2-2 with Alpha United on Thursday to comfortably advance to the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

    On the strength of its 8-0 win in San Jose a week ago, Herediano qualified for Group D and will face defending champion Monterrey, Comunicaciones of Guatemala and the Seattle Sounders.

    The elimination of the Guyanese side leaves the Champions League without a Caribbean side in the Group Stage for the first time in four seasons of the tournament. The Puerto Rico Islanders and Tempete FC of Haiti were eliminated on Wednesday.

    Anthony Abrams and Travis Grant gave Alpha a 2-0 lead by the 75th, but could not overcome the expulsion of Kelvin McKenzie and playing a man down for the final 46 minutes.

    Carlos Hernandez pulled Herediano within one in the 78th, and Jorge Barbosa, who scored three times in the first-leg victory, added the equalizer in the 84th to rally Herediano against the amateurs from Georgetown.

    Abrams' goal was the result of an individual effort, dribbling around two Herediano defenders at the top of the penalty area, touching to his left and finishing from about 12 meters.

    Alpha had the better of play throughout the first half, facing a Herediano side that made five changes from the team that earned the lopsided victory a week earlier.

    Shavane Seaforth took a try from 40 meters that whistled just over the bar as early as the ninth minute and an unmarked Abrams headed Dwight Peters' cross just wide from eight meters eight minutes later.

    Herediano was largely reduced to weak chances and shots from distance that were easily handled by Alpha keeper Ronson Williams.

    But Alpha endangered its effort just before halftime when McKenzie made a sliding, studs-up challenge at the top of the defensive third on a 50-50 ball, bringing down Barbosa.

    Herediano was able to exploit the man advantage through the second half, starting with Yosimar Arias' shot from 30 meters that Williams had to dive right to punch around the post.

    The Costa Rican side enjoyed much more possession and chances in the second half, largely through Jose Cancela, who shot over the bar from 23 meters in the 53rd.

    With Herediano pushing forward, Alpha was able to get a second when Grant scored with a left-footed drive following a cross into the area by Dwain Jacobs and touch back by Jevon Francis.

    The Costa Rican club was finally able to capitalize on its advantage three minutes later when Carlos Hernandez shot from distance and it appeared to deflected off Barbosa, standing with his back to goal in the area.

    Barbosa added a second with a dribble down the right side of the box and right-footed drive inside the far post.

    Herediano will open its group schedule against Monterrey at home on August 17 before travelling to Guatemala to face Comunicaciones on August 23.

     

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