Motagua magic, Violette result among top R16 2nd leg moments
MIAMI, Florida – The Round of 16 of the 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League is done and dusted after a thrilling slate of eight second leg matches. Here are the five that stood out the most:
Violette makes more history
Violette AC became the first Haitian club in SCCL history to advance past a round after eliminating Austin FC 3-2 on aggregate following a 2-0 defeat in Austin last Tuesday. The Caribbean side fended off a late charge from the Texans to secure the historic result. They are also the first Caribbean team to win a knockout round series in the SCCL since the Puerto Rico Islanders eliminated the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2010-11 Preliminary Round.
Motagua magic in Pachuca
In the SCCL era, Motagua had yet to win a two-legged series but that all changed on Thursday night with their 1-1 draw at Pachuca. The away goal, scored by Eddie Hernandez in the 89’, gave Motagua their first SCCL series victory in four attempts and was also the first goal they scored in an SCCL match after a streak of four goalless games. They are also the first Honduran club to reach the SCCL quarterfinals since Olimpia in 2020 and it marks Motagua’s first quarterfinal berth since the 2008 Concacaf Champions Cup.
Quinones sparks epic Atlas comeback
Coming back from three goals down to win a series in the SCCL is not something that happens often, but SCCL debutants Atlas didn’t get the message. The Liga MX side overturned a 4-1 first leg defeat to Olimpia of Honduras with a 4-0 home win thanks in part to Julian Quinones, who scored the first and fourth goals for the Guadalajara club. Atlas join the likes of Pumas (2022) and Club America (2014-15) as Mexican teams that have rallied from a three-goal deficit in an SCCL knockout round tie.
Tigres survive thriller in Orlando
Tigres returned to the scene of their greatest Concacaf triumph, Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, where they lifted the 2020 SCCL title, for the second leg of their Round of 16 tie with home side Orlando City SC. Sebastian Cordova’s first half goal had Tigres on the way to a fourth straight SCCL win at Exploria Stadium, only for a late Orlando City goal to make for a thrilling finish. Tigres kept their nerve despite a massive push from the hosts, showing they are once again a title contender.
Vela snuffs out brave Alajuelense rally
As mentioned before, it is not often that teams have come back from a three-goal deficit in a two-legged tie in the SCCL. The teams that have accomplished that feat all did it with the second leg at home, yet Alajuelense nearly did so on Wednesday night on the road in Los Angeles. Down 3-0 to Los Angeles FC going into the second leg, Alajuelense struck for two goals and had LAFC on their heels. It was at that moment that LAFC’s big star stepped up and delivered a massive moment for his team. Mexican FW Carlos Vela completed a fantastic individual play with a composed finish to seal LAFC’s 4-2 aggregate victory and a place in the quarterfinals.