• Wednesday Dec 10, 2008

    Pumas-Cruz Azul highlight quarterfinal pairings for CONCACAF Champions League

    NEW YORK - Mexico City rivals Pumas and Cruz Azul will meet in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, selected Wednesday to face each other in the tournament's knockout-round draw.

    Atlante of Mexico will play the Houston Dynamo, Mexico's Santos will go against the Montreal Impact, and Marathon of Honduras will take on the Puerto Rico Islanders in the other quarterfinals.

    Houston, Montreal, Puerto Rico and Cruz Azul, which finished as runners-up in the group stage, will host the first leg of the quarterfinals 24-26 February, with group winners Atlante, Santos, Marathon and Pumas staging second legs 3-5 March.

    "The pairings for the quarterfinals have me looking forward to a really exciting finish of our inaugural Champions League," CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer said. "The route for the winner will not be easy and that makes it all the more interesting."

    The draw, conducted by Deputy General Secretary Italo Zanzi in the television studios at the confederation's New York headquarters, also determined the semifinal matches.

    The winner between Santos and Montreal will host the first leg of the semifinals against the Atlante-Houston winner 17-19 March. Atlante or Houston will stage the second leg 7-9 April.

    In the second semifinal, Marathon or Puerto Rico will be at home for the first leg against either Cruz Azul or Pumas. The semifinal winner involving Marathon-Puerto Rico and Cruz Azul-Pumas will host the first leg of the finals 21-23 April, with the decisive match being played 28-30 April at the home of whomever prevails among Atlante, Houston, Santos and Montreal.

    This is the inaugural year for Champions League, the premier club competition for CONCACAF. The 24-team competition, which replaced the Champions Cup, began 26 August with the Preliminary Round and will decide the confederation's representative to the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup.

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