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Concacaf Champions Cup-News/Results
Monterrey, United quickest off their marks
(FIFA.com) 10 Mar 2005
Mexico's Monterrey and MLS champs D.C United were the big winners in the first matchday of the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Hugo Sanchez's Pumas from Mexico City managed a draw on the road with Honduran powerhouses Olimpia, while CF Monterrey made easy meat of Guatemala's Municipal at home.
D.C. United came out on top against Jamaican side Harbour View thanks to some youthful endeavour, while Major League Soccer compatriots Kansas City Wizards could find no spell to master Costa Rica's Saprissa in a 0-0 snorer on home soil.
Youth tells for United, Wizards lack magic
MLS champions DC United got their 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup campaign off on the right foot with an enthralling win over Jamaica's Harbour View Football Club.
The 3,825 fans who braved the sub-freezing temperatures and turned out at the intimate Maryland SoccerPlex must have thought they were in for a rout when, in only the fifth minute, U.S. international up-and-comer Alecko Eskandarian collected a ball from teenage sensation Freddy Adu to open the scoring.
But after the early setback, the skilful club from Kingston began to find their feet. Some deft work led to a Luton Shelton equaliser in minute 23. The teenager, who recently scored the only goal in a win over Cuba that saw Jamaica crowned champions of the Caribbean, made no mistake when presented with a golden chance.
United, though, dragged themselves back into the match with Josh Gros sealing the victory in minute 64. The bobbling, cumbersome header is only his second goal in D.C. colours.
The clash between Kansas City Wizards and Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica was a tactical battle - played brilliantly by Hernan Medford's men. All too aware that they were playing on the road, the Central Americans invited the home side to attack at Arrowhead Stadium. Unfortunately, Bob Gansler's Wizards are not exactly the most forward-thinking side in the States' top flight. And unable to get anything going up front, the physically charged match ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Kansas City will now have to conjure up some unlikely goals in the return leg at Saprissa Stadium in San Jose - notorious throughout the region as one of the most inhospitable grounds.
The U.S. teams are in their 'off-season,' while the rest of the competition's competitors are in the midst of their domestic campaigns. The MLS season is set to begin in early April.
A decent day for Mexico
Hugo Sanchez's UNAM Pumas decided not to play for the point on the road in Tegucigalpa - choosing instead to attack from the opening whistle against the Honduran champs. However, an 48th-minute goal from Winston Palacios gave the hosts a 1-0 lead. But Uruguayan striker Diego Alonso evened it up just eight minutes from time to pull off a crucial road draw in a tricky Central American venue.
While Pumas left it late, Monterrey were on their way to a simple victory after only three minutes. Before the Municipal players even had time to stretch their legs, Ricardo Martinez had bundled the ball past the keeper to send the home fans wild. Pablo Rotchen added another just before the half to make it 2-0 at the interval. There was to be no way back for the visitors. Though they managed to pull one back in a spirited second half, it was not enough as they lost 1-2.
The second leg of the home-and-away series will take place on 16 March. The quarter-final winners will move on to a semi-final series scheduled for 6 and 13 April. The winners of the semi-final home-and-away series will then head for the final scheduled for early May. The CONCACAF champion will earn a berth at the FIFA Club World Championship in Japan from 11-18 December.
The CONCACAF Champions' Cup is the oldest international club competition in the region and has crowned the champion club of the Confederation since its inception in 1962. Guadalajara were crowned the first champions, and since then Mexico has won the lion's share with 21 titles.
With holders LD Alajuelense having failed to qualify for the 2005 edition of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, there will be a new champion this time around.
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