Soccer  > General Soccer  > Three teams up for two spots in Group D
September 28, 2010, 11:21 AM
Group D of the CONCACAF Champions League is up for grabs with three of the four teams still in contention for not only the two berths into the quarterfinals, but the overall group lead, as well.

Toluca and Olimpia are level with seven points, while the Puerto Rico Islanders are sitting two points behind the co-leaders, making the final two Matchdays full of drama.

Puerto Rico could move atop the group with a win against Toluca Wednesday night at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon.

Toluca took all three points in a 3-0 victory against the Islanders on Sept. 15 at Estadio Nemesio Diez. Osvaldo Gonzalez struck in the first half, while Juan Cuevas and Emmanuel Cerda added goals in the final quarter.

On Sunday, the Diablos Rojos, which sit atop Group B in the Mexican Apertura with 16 points from nine matches, defeated host Morelia, 2-1, on second half goals by Hector Mancilla and Nestor Calderon.

"It has always been very difficult coming to Morelia, the teams are well managed and I think the heat was a strong factor that reduced the dynamics of the two teams" Toluca manager Jose Manuel de la Torre said after the match. "But they are circumstances to which we must adapt and the team did well against a very capable and well-led team. I think we did enough to win."

Puerto Rico, which had already clinched a berth in the USSF-2, rested several starters on the weekend and lost, 2-1, to the Carolina Railhawks. It was the team's 11th defeat of the season, the most since 17 in its inaugural season six years ago and third in its past four league matches.

But club president Andres Guillemard wasn't overly concerned with the loss, knowing more important games, including Wednesday's clash against Toluca, were on the horizon.

"We had to protect the team for this moment," he told Primera Hora. "And these sacrifices involve losses. What is important is how we end up, not how we started."

Olimpia, which defeated Toluca, 2-1, last week at home, can book its spot in the final eight with a win against FAS and a win or draw by Toluca. In the first match against FAS, Olimpia won, 2-0, at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino on a pair of goals by Roger Rojas.

On Thursday, the Leones will try to duplicate the result at Estadio Cuscatl??n in San Salvador.

"It will be very difficult because [this is] their last chance to qualify for the next phase of the CONCACAF Champions League," Marathon defender Fabio de Souza told La Prensa.

While Olimpia enter the match buoyed after an impressive win against Toluca, FAS played the Puerto Rico Islanders to a 0-0 draw, its second point of the group stage.

"It will be a difficult game because the Salvadorans will be home and want to win, " Marathon manager Carlos Restrepo said. "We are not going to give anything away."


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