Action from the CONCACAF Champions League game between host Alajuelense and Club America (yellow) on August 29, 2013, at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank, in Alajuela, Costa Rica. (Photo: Mexsport)
ALAJUELA, Costa Rica – In a battle of past confederation champions, Alajuelense defeated Club America 1-0 in a drama-filled CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) contest on Thursday at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank.
A penalty kick late in the second half by Alvaro Sanchez provided the margin of victory, leaving all three teams in Group 4, including Panama’s Sporting San Miguelito, with identical 1-0-1 records and level on all tie-breakers.
Alajuelense won for the first time this season in any competition through five outings and remains unbeaten in CCL home games against Mexican opposition (two wins and one draw).
Conversely, Club America, which holds the top spot in LIGA MX on goal difference, dropped its initial decision following five wins and a draw in all competitions.
The Manudos sealed the victory in the 83rd minute, when Sanchez converted a kick from the spot after Armando Alonso was pulled down in the box by Carlos Gutierrez.
It was Sanchez’s second career CCL goal with his (and Alajuelense’s) last tally in the tournament also coming at home via a penalty kick in a 1-0 win over Real Esteli on September 26, 2012.
Alajuelense goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton had an outstanding game, making several acrobatic stops to keep the Aguilas off the scoreboard. The host has now conceded one goal or less in four of its last five CCL games.
Group play resumes on September 17 at the Estadio Azteca with a meeting between Club America and Sporting San Miguelito. Alajuelense will host the Panamanian side nine days later.
NOTES: Alajuelense (2) and Club America (5) have combined to win seven CONCACAF club titles, but neither has lifted the trophy since 2006…Club America and Cruz Azul have won the most CONCACAF club championships (5 each)…Five of Alajuelense’s seven CCL home wins have come by a score of 1-0.