Pumas to face United in semifinals

Two-time defending Mexican champion Pumas UNAM dramatically survived their CONCACAF Champions' Cup quarterfinal series against CD Olimpia of Honduras, claiming a 2-1 victory in extra time in Wednesday's second leg in Mexico City to advance 3-2 on aggregate.

The two clubs played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg, then the teams traded first-half goals in Wednesday's return leg at the Estadio Olimpico to send the game into extra time, Joaquin Botero giving Pumas an early lead before it was canceled out by a Jerry Palacios strike. Just when it seemed as if the tie would have to be decided by penalty kicks, Bruno Marioni's goal sent Pumas through with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The home side came out attacking from the opening whistle in an effort to put the tie away early, and Botero hit home after just 17 minutes. He hit a powerful shot on the half-turn into the upper corner past Olimpia's Panamanian international goalkeeper, Ricardo James, who could do nothing to stop the shot.

But after claiming the go-ahead goal, the university side began to back off the pressure, allowing the visitors to get back into the match.

They did just that on the half-hour mark, as Palacios took advantage of a lapse in concentration in the Mexican back line to latch onto a centering pass from the right, ripping it past goalkeeper Sergio Bernal inside the far post.

The second half, and the extra session, changed little from the rhythm that followed after the equalizer: an Olimpia side content to soak up the pressure and try to break on the counter, and a Pumas side without the key to unlock the massed defense.

Mere seconds before the match would go to the lottery of penalty kicks and after Olimpia defender Wilson Palacios was sent off for a second yellow card in the 111th minute, Marioni popped up in the area to slash home a left-footed shot past James and send Hugo Sanchez's team into the semifinals of the tournament they've won on three occasions, all in the '80s (1980, '82, '89).

Pumas will travel to the U.S. capital to face D.C. United in the first leg on April 6, with the teams making the return trip to the Mexican capital a week later.

Pumas: Sergio Bernal, Joaquín Beltrán, Dario Verón, Israel Castro, Jaime Lozano, Gerardo Galindo, José Luis López (Ismael Iñiguez 46), Leandro Augusto, Ailton da Silva (Diego Alonso 106), Joaquín Botero, Bruno Marioni (Hugo Sánchez 123).

Olimpia: Ricardo James, Milton Palacios, Rony Morales, Mario Beata, Wilson Palacios, Oscar Bonilla, José Luis Pineda, Walter López (Minor Figueroa 64), Jerry Palacios (Danilo Tosello 102), Danilo Turcios, Everaldo Ferreira (Wilmer Velásquez 86)

Monterrey slides into semifinals after scoreless draw

CF Monterrey of Mexico eased into the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup on Wednesday after playing to a scoreless draw against CSD Municipal in Guatemala City.

Monterrey moved into the semifinals with a 2-1 victory on aggregate. They will play the winner of the quarterfinal series between Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa and the Kansas City Wizards, with their second leg to be played on Thursday in San Jose after the first leg in the U.S. ended scoreless.

Oribe Peralta had a terrific match for the visitors, doing everything but scoring. He narrowly missed on an overhead kick from directly in front of goal in the game's opening minutes, then later in the first half beat Municipal goalkeeper Leonardo Diaz only to see his shot come back off the base of the right-hand post.

Late in the match, Municipal manager Enzo Trossero rolled the dice in bringing on strikers Mario Acevedo and Mario Rodriguez in a late bid to grab the levelling goal. Acevedo nearly hit home when his powerful shot from outside the area rattled around a crowded penalty area, only to deflect away. Rodriguez pounced on the rebound, but put his effort wide.

Municipal: Leonardo Díaz, Pablo Melgar, Jacinto Zorilla, Claudio Albizuris (Claudio Rojas 72), Gonzalo Romero, Selvin Ponciano (Mario Acevedo 65), Juan Carlos Plata, Julio Girón, German Ruano, Carlos Figueroa (Mario Rodríguez 75), Víctor Muller

Monterrey: Juan Ibarra, Joel Morales, Pablo Rothen (Fernando Ibarra 44), Paulo Serafín, Hugo Melendez (Francisco Rueda 5) Two-time defending Mexican champion Pumas UNAM dramatically survived their CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinal series against CD Olimpia of Honduras, claiming a 2-1 victory in extra time in Wednesday's second leg in Mexico City to advance 3-2 on aggregate.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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