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5.1.04 - Atlas CF, Club América, Club Santos Laguna and CD Toluca FC opened the 2004 Prelibertadores, with victories over fellow Mexican club opponents on Sunday (4 January) in Carson and Stockton, California, USA respectively.

The eight-team tournament, that will qualify two Mexican clubs to CONMEBOL’s Copa Libertadores in 2004, began its opening round on 4 January with two groups of four.

Atlas defeated Tigres UANL 2:0 in the first match of Group B at Stagg Memorial Stadium in Stockton, California. A crowd of 15,373 saw goals by Jaime Durán (39th minute) and Manuel Pérez (78th) lead a nine-man Atlas to the 2:0 win. The second game in Stockton, a second-half score by José Manuel Abundis (67th minute) gave Toluca a 1:0 victory over CA Monarcas Morelia in Group A action. Both had previously met in the 2003 CONCACAF Champions Cup Final, which was won by Toluca 4:3 on aggregate.

In another Group A encounter, two goals by Jared Borgetti led Santos Laguna to a 2:1 win over CD Guadalajara at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Omar Bravo had the only tally for Guadalajara in the loss.

The sold out crowd of 27,000 spectators at the Home Depot Center also witness a Group B match that had Club América edging Atlante FC 3:2. Reinaldo Navia scored twice and Ariel González added another for Club América, while Aarón Padilla and Sebastián González each had a goal for Atlante.

The Prelibertadores tournament continues on Tuesday (6 January) with Group B action at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California USA, as Club América takes on Atlas at 19:00, and then Atlante meets Tigres at 21:30.

Group A continues on Friday (9 January) at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas USA, with Morelia facing Santos Laguna at 19:00 and then Toluca playing against Guadalajara at 21:30.

After the final group matches 11 January, the event will culminate three days later (14 January) with in which the top teams of each group will play for Mexico's first spot in the Copa Libertadores in Group 3, joining Cruzeiro (BRA), Universidad de Concepcion (CHI) and Caracas FC (VEN).

On the same day (14 January) the runner-ups in each group will play for the right to meet the loser of the earlier championship match in a playoff for the second Mexican berth into the Copa Libertadores. That team will play in Group 1 against Sao Caetano (BRA), Peñarol (URU) and The Strongest (BOL).

2004 Prelibertadores
Group A
04.01.2004: Stockton, California USA; Stagg Memorial Stadium (A: 15373)
CD TOLUCA FC – CA MONARCAS MORELIA 1:0 (0:0)
José Manuel ABUNDIS 67’
R: Ricardo VALENZUELA (USA)

04.01.2004: Carson, California USA; Home Depot Center (A: 27000)
CD GUADALAJARA – CLUB SANTOS LAGUNA 1:2 (1:1)
Omar BRAVO 1’ – Jared BORGETTI 2’; 55’
R: Kevin STOTT (USA)

09.01.2004: Houston, Texas USA; Reliant Stadium (19:00)
CA MONARCAS MORELIA – CLUB SANTOS LAGUNA

09.01.2004: Houston, Texas USA; Reliant Stadium (21:30)
CD TOLUCA FC – CD GUADALAJARA

11.01.2004: Dallas, Texas USA; Cotton Bowl (17:30)
CA MONARCAS MORELIA – CD GUADALAJARA

11.01.2004: Dallas, Texas USA; Cotton Bowl (20:00)
CD TOLUCA FC – CLUB SANTOS LAGUNA

Group B
04.01.2004: Stockton, California USA; Stagg Memorial Stadium (A: 15373)
ATLAS CF – TIGRES UANL 2:0 (1:0)
Jaime DURÁN 39’; Manuel PÉREZ 78’
Sent offs: Atlas CF – Jaime DURÁN 74’, José de Jesus CORONA 81’
R: Ali SAHELI (USA)

04.01.2004: Carson, California USA; Home Depot Center (A: 27000)
CLUB AMÉRICA – ATLANTE FC 3:2 (1:1)
Reinaldo NAVIA 37’, 51’; Ariel GONZÁLEZ 82’ – Aarón PADILLA 20’; Sebastián GONZÁLEZ 69’
R: Michael KENNEDY (USA)

06.01.2004: San Jose, California USA; Spartan Stadium (19:00)
CLUB AMÉRICA – ATLAS CF

06.01.2004: San Jose, California USA; Spartan Stadium (21:30)
ATLANTE FC – TIGRES UANL

11.01.2004: Houston, Texas USA; Reliant Stadium (13:00)
ATLANTE FC – ATLAS CF

11.01.2004: Houston, Texas USA; Reliant Stadium (15:30)
CLUB AMÉRICA – TIGRES UANL
 
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