March 31, 2023
Pachuca stunned by Hondurans, León advances to CONCACAF quarterfinals

Pachuca stunned by Hondurans, León advances to CONCACAF quarterfinals

Five-time Mexican CONCACAF champion Pachuca suffered a shock Champions League exit at the hands of Motagua on Thursday after drawing 1-1 in the round of 16.

After the first leg ended goalless, the Honduran champions move up on the away goals rule and will have a chance to take down another Liga-MX giant when they take on Tigres in next month’s quarterfinals. .

Pachuca looked headed for the next round after Illian Hernández’s header put them ahead in the 73rd minute, but then in the closing minutes a wild challenge from Oscar Murillo on Roberto Moreira in the box saw the ref signal the spot. penalty.

Eddie Hernández’s penalty was far from perfect, but Pachuca goalkeeper Marlon Licona couldn’t reach it and suddenly the Mexicans were staring at the exit.

Pachuca pounced for a late winner, but the visitors nearly added a second when Moreira forced a big save from Licona with a firm strike.

The referee added more than eight minutes of stoppage time, but despite the home team pumping balls into the box, Motagua stood their ground and celebrated loudly at the final whistle.

It is the first time that Motagua has reached the quarterfinals since 2009, the last year of the old Champions Cup.

There was better news for León of Mexico, who defeated Tauro of Panama 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals with a 3-0 aggregate win.

The victory for Nicolás Larcamon’s team sets up a quarterfinal meeting with Haitian surprise package Violette AC, who defeated Major League Soccer club Austin.

Hosts León, up 1-0 in the first leg, dominated from the start and came close to scoring when José Alvarado headed Elías Hernández’s cross to the post in the 20th minute.

Six minutes later, León had the lead when Hernández broke down the left and picked out Brian Rubio with a low cross and the striker made no mistake with a clinical shot from his right foot.

Tauro responded immediately with Breidy Goluz running towards a through ball from Francisco Vence and finishing on goal, but the flag was raised for offside.

León pushed for the second goal that would end the Panamanian resistance, Lucas Romero shot over the crossbar from outside the box and then Rubio headed in Steven Barreiro’s cross.

But on the stroke of halftime, the impressive Hernández was fed by Osvaldo Rodríguez, cut inside from the left flank and then drilled a right-footed shot into the far corner.

León had chances after the break to increase their lead with Rodríguez seeing a low shot well saved by Tauro goalkeeper Eric Hughes and Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell who fired wide.

The other quarterfinals will see an MLS affair between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Los Angeles FC, while Mexico’s Atlas take on the Philadelphia Union.


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