• Monday Dec 14, 2009

    Monterrey seizes place in Champions League Group Stage

    MEXICO CITY - Monterrey will be the seventh different team from Mexico to play in the CONCACAF Champions League next season, earning a berth in the Group Stage with its third Mexican league crown.

    Monterrey captured the spot with a 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul in Mexico City on Sunday in the second leg of the Apertura finals, completing a 6-4 aggregate win that gave the club its first title since 2002-2003 Clausura season.

    By virtue of its runner-up finish, Cruz Azul will return for a third straight season, assured of at least a Preliminary Round berth. The Mexico City side has easily advanced past the early knockout stage of the competition each season so far, outscoring its two opponents, Hankook Verdes and Herediano 18-2 in four matches.

    Chilean forward Humberto Suazo sealed Monterrey's title Sunday with a 90th-minute goal, giving him three in the two-leg finals and second time in four days he scored late to lead his side to victory. Suazo scored twice in Thursday's 4-3 win at home, including the dramatic clincher in the 88th minute.

    Monterrey finished fifth in the Apertura regular season standings, eliminating America and Toluca in the Liguilla playoffs to reach the finals.

    Monterrey and Cruz Azul become the sixth and seventh teams to guarantee themselves places in next season's Champions League, joining American Major League Soccer clubs the Columbus Crew, Real Salt Lake, Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders as well as Honduran side Marathon.

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