Soccer  > General Soccer  > Monterrey seals spot in quarters, ties Saprissa 2-2
September 29, 2010, 12:47 PM
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Monterrey claimed a second quarterfinal berth in the CONCACAF Champions League for Mexico in one night, earning a 2-2 draw with Saprissa on Tuesday to clinch the Group C title.

The result ended Los Rayados' (the stripes) four-game winning streak in the Champions League, but gave it 13 points, six better than Saprissa, with one round remaining.

Saprissa moved into second place with seven points, one ahead of Marathon, which was to play at Seattle on Wednesday in their fourth-round encounter.

Monterrey joined fellow Mexican club Cruz Azul and U.S. champion Real Salt Lake, both of whom clinched knockout round berths earlier in the evening.

The Costa Rican side twice rallied from a one-goal deficit, equalizing a final time in the 66th minute when Jose Mena dived to redirect David Guzman's free kick at the corner of the six-yard box.

The draw ended Saprissa's five-game winning streak at home but extended its unbeaten run at Estadio Saprissa to 18 in all competitions.

Luis Alfonso Rodriguez put Monterrey ahead less than five minutes after the opening kickoff, sent in behind the Saprissa back line on a counter with a ball from Dario Carreno. The 19-year-old Rodriguez, who has played only 59 minutes in the Mexican Apertura and who was making his Champions League debut, took a touch into the penalty area and then finished with a ball just inside the far post.

Monterrey had the better of play and chances early, but Saprissa also threatened and equalized in the 16th minute. Gabriel Badilla recovered his own blocked shot near the byline and skipped a cross through the area that teammate Mauricio Castillo could only get a touch to.

But it was enough to deflect it off the shin of Monterrey defender Severo Meza, who knocked it past keeper Juan De Dios Ibarra from the edge of the six-yard line.

Carreno restored the lead in the 32nd, diving away from goal to get to Rodriguez's cross and redirect it with a glancing header past goalkeeper Fausto Gonzalez inside the far post.

Both sides had additional chances. Ibarra had to knock two goal-bound shots, a header by Badilla off a corner in the 37th that went into the keeper's feet, and another deflection off the foot of Meza in the 38th.

Saprissa was frustrated in the second half as well when Josue Martinez's left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area skipped and bounced off the far post in the 61st minute.

The game was played under a heavy rain that was intermittent throughout most of the day, but began falling steadily five hours before kickoff and intensified midway through the second half. While the artificial surface at Estadio Saprissa was able to drain most of the water, puddles began to appear near the Saprissa goal toward the end of the match.

Monterrey was under the direction of assistant coach Carlos Barra, who was filling in for Victor Vucetich, unable to make the trip to Costa Rica because of urinary tract infection.


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