Soccer  > General Soccer  > Municipal revives quarterfinal hopes with win
September 30, 2010, 02:21 PM
GUATEMALA CITY - Pando Ramirez scored a pair of first-half goals and Municipal revived its chances of reaching the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew on Wednesday.

The result left Columbus with nine points and dropped it into second place in Group B, one point behind Santos, which beat Joe Public 5-1. Municipal climbed to eight points, but will have to travel to Mexico to face Santos in its final match on October 19. Columbus will travel to face already eliminated Joe Public on October 21.

Two teams from each group advance to the knockout phase.

Relentless daylong heavy rain that continued throughout the match left the field at Estadio Mateo Flores sodden and soft with standing water in several places. Players struggled with footing and balls skipped in some spots and skidded to a halt in others.

Pando Ramirez, who leads the Guatemalan Apertura with nine goals, gave Municipal the lead in the 19th minute, cutting twice to elude Adam Moffat and create space for himself before unleashing a 35-meter left-footed drive into the upper left corner past diving goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.

The Guatemalan international doubled the lead 20 minutes later. Marvin Avila served a ball behind the Columbus defense to Ramirez, who raced past Eric Brunner, took two touches into the penalty area and hit a right-footed shot that Gruenebaum was able to partially block with his right foot.

But the ball the bounded toward the goal and bounced once before crossing the line for Ramirez's fourth goal in the Champions League and fifth in his last four games.

Andy Iro pulled the Crew within a goal in the minute before halftime, darting through the area on Duncan Oughton's corner kick, trapping it with his thighs and finishing from inside the six-yard box.

Both sides had their chances in the second half with Columbus generating several corners, but unable to generate anything serious, while Mario Rodriguez wasted his opportunity in the 57th, breaking in on Gruenebaum alone but putting his shot from the arc directly into the arms of the Crew keeper.

Columbus, playing its sixth game in 19 days amid a stretch where it will play eight matches in 24 days, used a second-choice lineup with only four possible substitutions on the bench.

The win extended Municipal's unbeaten streak to nine with its seventh victory since August 29, and also kept it unbeaten at home in 19 games dating back to February with its 14 triumph in its last 16.

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