CA Monarcas Morelia all but sealed their advancement to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup after blasting Columbus Crew 6:0 in the first leg of their quarterfinal series on Wednesday in Mexico.
For the second year running, Morelia destroyed U.S. opposition at home, as Ismael Iñiguez and Adolfo Bautista each scored a pair of goals.
The match was scoreless until late in the first half, when Morelia scored a pair of goals in quick succession. In the 38th minute a cross was headed clear by Columbus defender Chad McCarty, falling to the feet of Roberto Palacios, who hammered home a shot from outside the area.
Four minutes later, Iñiguez doubled the lead with another long-range effort which hit the inside of the post on its way past Crew goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Monarcas killed off the match early in the second half, as Bautista scored his goals in short order. The first came on 50 minutes when a ball was played in behind the Crew defense, as after Busch missed collecting it, Bautista slipped it home from a tight angle past the scrambling 'keeper.
In the 54th minute, he grabbed his second, Charel Hernández making a run down the left flank before delivering a pinpoint pass that Bautista calmly sidefooted home from the center of the area.
Reinaldo Navia made it 5:0 in the 65th minute, running onto a long through ball from Palacios and carrying the ball for a ways before finishing well inside Busch's left post as the 'keeper came off his line.
Iñiguez then grabbed his second on 70 minutes, racing onto a backheel in the box from Navia and chipped over the sliding Busch, who again was left with little chance to stop the Monarcas onslaught.
Last year, Monarcas defeated Kansas City Wizards 6:1 in Morelia in the first leg of their semifinal series in the Champions Cup, eventually advancing to the final 7:2 on aggregate.
The return match will be played in a week's time in Columbus, with the home side facing a nearly insurmountable task.
09.04.2003: Morelia, Michoacán; Estadio Morelos
CA MONARCAS MORELIA - COLUMBUS CREW 6:0 (1:0)
Roberto PALACIOS 38'; Ismael IÑIGUEZ 42', 69'; Adolfo BAUTISTA 49', 54'; Reinaldo NAVIA 65'
MORELIA: Miguel Fuentes - Enrique Vizcarra (46: Charel Hernández), Cristian Ramírez, Dario Franco, Carlos Gutiérrez, Miguel Hernández, Humberto González, Damián álvarez (Reinaldo Navia), Roberto Palacios, Adolfo Bautista (59: Martín Gómez), Ismael Iñiguez. Booked: C. Hernández 48'.
CREW: Jon Busch - Mike Clark, Chad McCarty, Eric Denton, Duncan Oughton, Brian Maisonneuve (63: Diego Walsh), Edson Buddle (50: Jeff Cunningham), Freddy García, Ross Paule (52: Brian West), Nelson Akwari, Brian McBride. Booked: Clark 11', McCarty 82'.
R: Joel AGUILAR (SLV)