• Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

    Xelaju, Monterrey look to CCL to find form

    QUETZALTENANGO, Guatemala -- In terms of form heading into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, what a difference a few months have made for Monterrey and Xelaju.

    At the conclusion of the group stage late last year, both teams were flying high - the Rayados with a perfect record and the No. 1 seed coming into the elimination rounds, and the Super Chivos on the heels of their historic group win at the expense of Chivas de Guadalajara.

    The current season has been less kind to both clubs, as the pair currently sits outside the playoff places in their respective leagues.

    After a third straight league loss over the weekend, Xelaju is currently in tenth place in the twelve team Liga Mayor, with just nine points from eight matches. Monterrey also lost over the weekend, and finds itself in 14th place in the Liga MX, with just 10 points from nine matches.

    "It's a shame to be in 14th place, but that's how football is in Mexico," said Rayados midfielder Walter Ayovi. "It's too early to say that we're out of the Liguilla, but the games coming up are difficult ones, and we have to get out of this bad streak that we're in."

    The poor performance for both teams actually began in league play late last tournament, even as the duo was achieving great things in international play. Monterrey finished seventh in the Liga MX and was bounced in the first round of the playoffs by Club Tijuana, while Xelaju also lost a disappointing first round playoff series in Guatemala to Malacateco.

    Those recent streaks of underachievement for the two historic powers make this week's CCL quarterfinal all the more important to both teams, as each has the chance to get out of its league rut.

    "Now we leave the league aside, and focus on the ConcaChampions," said Monterrey defender Ricardo Osorio. "We have to work and focus on getting the results. I don't know a team that doesn't fight for wins and Monterrey isn't going to stop doing that, day by day, fighting to get better."

    Monterrey arrived Tuesday morning in Guatemala, in preparation for Wednesday night's match, set to kickoff at 7 PM local time at the Estadio Mario Camposeco in Quetzaltenango.

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