• Monday Dec 12, 2011

    Tigres joins Group Stage, others close on CCL

    NEW YORK - Tigres UANL will advance into the Group Stage of next season's CONCACAF Champions League thanks to its Mexican league title victory Sunday, while Olimpia moved a step closer to its fifth straight appearance in the confederation championship.

    Tigres completed a 4-1 aggregate victory with a 3-1 win at El Volcan - the club's Estadio Universitario de Nuevo Leon in the Monterrey suburb of San Nicolas de la Garza, celebrating its first Mexican league title since 1982 before a wet and cold but happy crowd of 43,000.

    After winning the first leg 1-0 at Santos on Thursday, Tigres had to rally from 30th-minute deficit on Sunday with second-half goals by Hector Mancilla, Danilinho and Alan Pulido. Santos was hampered by the 11th-minute expulsion of goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez, who was ejected for a sliding tackle of Danilinho. Both teams had players sent off in the 69th: defenders Felipe Baloy for Santos and Israel Jimenez for Tigres.

    Santos, which has qualified for the quarterfinals of this season's Champions League, will enter the Champions League at the Preliminary Round for the third straight year in 2012.

    In Central America, Olimpia moved within a draw of becoming the first team to qualify for its fifth straight Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Real Espana in the Honduran Apertura finals. Carlos Mejia scored the winner in the 83rd minute, requiring Olimpia only to tie Espana in the second leg Saturday to secure the title and Champions League berth.

    Elsewhere, Herediano held Alajuelense to a 1-1 draw in Alajuela on Sunday in the first leg of the Costa Rican Apertrua finals. The second leg is set for this coming Sunday.

    Metapan and Once Municipal will play for the Salvadoran Apertura crown on Sunday at Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador after weekend semifinal victories. Metapan defeated Firpo 3-0 Sunday for a 6-3 aggregate win, while Municipal completed its 3-1 triumph with a 2-1 win at FAS on Saturday.

    The two most titled teams in Guatemalan history will meet in that country's Apertura finals after Municipal and Comunicaciones vanquished their semifinal foes.

    Municipal, which has won the most titles (28), will host the first leg on Thursday at Estadio Mateo Flores after its 3-2 aggregate victory - despite a 1-0 loss to Suchitepezez on Sunday. Comunicaciones, which has won 24 titles, defeated Xelaju 4-2 on aggregate despite a 2-1 loss Saturday and will be home for the second leg on Sunday at Estadio Cementos Progreso.

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