The semifinal round of the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup™ will be a Mexican and Costa Rican affair after Club America and CD Toluca of Mexico along with LD Alajuelense and Deportivo Saprissa from Costa Rica claimed semifinal spots following quarterfinal victories on Wednesday evening.
Club America's 5:2 home victory over visiting Caribbean champions, Portmore United FC of Jamaica, at the Estadio Azteca in Ciudad de México gave them an aggregate score of 7:3 and a place in the semifinals where they will play LD Alajuelense.
Aaron Padilla scored three times and Santiago Fernandez and Diego Cervantes each added another for Club América, while Anthony Bennett and Jason Morrison had the only goals for Portmore United FC in the loss.
Alajuelense claimed their semifinal place against Club América after a 1:0 victory over visiting New England Revolution (USA) at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto in Alajuela on Wednesday evening.
The first-leg of the tie finished goal-less and the second-leg looked like it was going the same way, with neither side seeming able to break the deadlock. However, a 90th minute free kick, scored by Carlos Hernandez of Alajuelense, gave the Revolution little time to reply and the game, and the aggregate score, finished 1:0 to the Costa Rican side.
The second Champions' Cup semifinal will see CD Toluca take on reigning CONCACAF Champions, Deportivo Saprissa.
Mexican side Toluca had won the first leg of their tie, against CD Olimpia in Honduras, by a 2:0 score line and they were in a strong position going into the second leg where they would also enjoy home advantage.
However, it was visiting Olimpia that opened the scoring with a 22nd minute strike by Manuel Carcamo. Toluca's nerves were settled somewhat when Javier Rosada scored their equaliser on 47 minutes and reinstated the two goal aggregate lead. A deflected Carlos Esquivel volley six minutes later eluded the Honduran team's goalkeeper and gave the Mexican side a 2:1 victory, 4:1 on aggregate.
In perhaps the most dramatic game of the night, Saprissa welcomed the Los Angeles Galaxy with everything to play for following a 0:0 draw in the first leg of the encounter two week ago. By half time the visiting Galaxy had accumulated a two-goal lead thanks to strikes by Josh Gardner and Landon Donovan. Alonso Solis pulled one back for Saprissa immediately after play restarted for the second half and scored the equaliser on 57 minutes. With the score level, chances at either end came and went but neither side could break the deadlock and the game headed into extra time. Reynaldo Parks' 94th minute strike proved enough to complete Saprissa's comeback from 2-0 down to claim a dramatic 3:2 victory on the night, also 3:2 on aggregate, and their place in the semifinals.
The semifinal line-up will therefore see Club America play LD Alajuelense and CD Toluca against Deportivo Saprissa. The first legs take place 22 and 23 March with the return legs a week later on 29 March. The aggregate winners of the semifinals will play-off for the CONCACAF Champions' Cup™ title, and a place in FIFA's Club World Championship, in a two-legged final in April.
The 2006 CONCACAF Champions' Cup™ is being broadcast on television by the FoxSports International regional programming channels (Fox Soccer Channel - USA; FoxSports en Español - USA; Fox Sports Latin America Northern Cone - Caribbean, Central America & Mexico).
2006 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS' CUP™
08.03.2006: Ciudad de México, MEXICO; Estadio Azteca
CLUB AMéRICA (MEX) - PORTMORE UNITED FC (JAM) 5:2 (1:1)
Aaron PADILLA 4', 56', 90'+; Santiago FERNANDEZ 57'; Diego CERVANTES 80' - Anthony BENNETT 24'; Jason MORRISON 82'
Club América: Armando Navarrette - Ismael Rodriguez, Jose Antonio Castro, Oscar Rojas (71: Raul Mendoza), Diego Cervantes, Irenio José Soares, Aaron Padilla, German Villa, Christian Jiménez, Francisco Torres (74: Juan Carlos Silva), Miguel ángel Zepeda (49: Santiago Fernandez). Booked: none
TD: Manuel LAPUENTE
Portmore United: Jacomeno Barrett - Anthony Modeste, Demar Stewart, Adrian Mitchell, Tyrone Sawyers, Ryan Powell, Jason Morrison, Omar Daley, Kemeel Wolfe (26: Wolfy Wolfe), Anthony Bennett (65: Garth Bootha), Kevin Deerr (76: Mario Swaby). Booked: Barrett 4', Mitchell 55', W. Wolfe 79'
TD: Paul YOUNG
R: Rodolfo SIBRIAN (SLV)
Club América wins 7:3 on aggregate
08.03.2006: Alajuela, COSTA RICA; Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto
LD ALAJUELENSE (CRC) - NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (USA) 1:0 (0:0)
Carlos HERNANDEZ 90'
LD Alajuelense: Wardy Alfaro - Luis Marín, Christian Montero, Rolando Fonseca (61: Erick Jiménez), Wilmer Lopez (61: Erick Scott), Bryan Ruiz, Harold Wallace, Carlos Hernandez, Emil Martinez (71: Pablo Daniel Antonio Gabas), Carlos Castro, Michael Rodriguez. Booked: Scott 86'
TD: Rolando VILLALOBOS
New England Revolution: Matthew Reis - Clint Dempsey, Daniel Hernandez, John Heaps, Joseph Franchino, Steve Ralston (61: Jose Cancela), James Riley, Tony Lochhead, Taylor Twellman, Shalrie Joseph, Andy Dorman. Booked: Joseph 29'
TD: Steve NICOL
R: Peter PRENDERGAST (JAM)
LD Alajuelense wins 1:0 on aggregate
08.03.2006: Toluca, Estado de MEXICO; Estadio Nemesio Diez
CD TOLUCA (MEX) - CD OLíMPIA (HON) 2:1 (0:1)
Javier Ariel ROSADA 47'; Carlos ESQUIVEL SILVA 53' - Juan Manuel CáRCAMO 21'
CD Toluca: Cesar Amado Lozano - Javier Ariel Rosada, Rodrigo Diaz (71: Ismael Valadez), Eric Espinosa, Josué Castillejos (61: Jose Manuel Cruzalta), Sergio Ponce, Emilio Viades, Uzziel Lozano (46: Carlos Esquivel Silva), José Manuel Abundis, Edgar Garcia, Francisco Gamboa. Booked: Castillejos 25', Abundis 60'
TD: Americo GALLEGO
CD Olímpia: Ricardo James - Wilfredo Barahona, Hendry Thomas, Rony Morales, Maynor Figueroa, Oscar Boniek Garcia (80: Reynlado Antonio Tilguath), Oscar Bonilla, Wilson Palacios, Elvis Danilo Turcios (75: Walter Nahun Lopez), Jairo Martinez (59: Juan Pedro Valet), Juan Manuel Cárcamo. Booked: Garcia 59', Bonilla 89'
TD: Nahún ESPINOZA
R: Kevin STOTT (USA)
CD Toluca wins 4:1 on aggregate
08.03.2006: San José, COSTA RICA; Estadio Ricardo Saprissa
DEPORTIVO SAPRISSA (CRC) - LOS ANGELES GALAXY (USA) 3:2 (0:2) (2:2), aet
Walter CENTENO 46'; Alonso SOLIS 56'; Reynaldo PARKS 95' - Josh GRARNER 20'; Landon DONOVAN 40'
Deportivo Saprissa: Jose Francisco Porras - Gabriel Badilla, Tray Benneth, Victor Cordero (81: Jervis Drummond), Reynaldo Parks, Andres Nuñez (46: Alonso Solis), Randall Azofeifa, Walter Centeno, Cristian Bolaños, Ronald Gómez, Alvaro Saborio (107: Jose Luis Lopez). Booked: Centeno 112'
TD: Hernan MEDFORD
Los Angeles Galaxy: Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Tyrone Marshall, Ugo Ihemelu, Nate Sturgis (103: Alan Gordon), Peter Vagenas, Marcelo Saragoza (66: Brian Dunseth), Cobi Jones (81: Ednaldo Da Conceicao), Josh Grarner, Hercules Gomez, Landon Donovan. Booked: Saragoza 61', Marshall 83'
TD: Steve SAMPSON
R: Benito ARCHUNDIA (MEX)
Deportivo Saprissa wins 3:2 on aggregate
23.03.2006: Alajuela, COSTA RICA; (20:00)
LD ALAJUELENSE (CRC) - CLUB AMéRICA (MEX)
29.03.2006: Ciudad de México, MEXICO; (18:00)
CLUB AMéRICA (MEX) - LD ALAJUELENSE (CRC)
22.03.2006: Toluca, Estado de MEXICO; (14:30)
CD TOLUCA (MEX) - DEPORTIVO SAPRISSA (CRC)
29.03.2006: San José, COSTA RICA; (20:00)
DEPORTIVO SAPRISSA (CRC) - CD TOLUCA (MEX)
First-leg: 11-13 April
Second-leg: 18-20 April
Photo #1 - CD Toluca, from deportivotolucafc.com
Photo #2 - LD Alajuelense vs. New England Revolution, by Marvin Caravaca/La Nacion (CRC)