Mexico’s Club America Wins CONCACAF Champions League

Dario Benedetto scored three second-half goals and Club America of Mexico beat the Montreal Impact 4-2 on Wednesday night to win the CONCACAF Champions League title.

Club America won the two-game series 5-3 after tying Montreal 1-1 last week in Mexico City.

It was America’s first victory in the Champions League era since 2009, but the Mexico City side won the previous version five times. It will take play in the Club World Cup in Japan in December.

Oribe Peralta also scored in the second-half for the Mexican team.

“We talked in the locker room (at halftime),” Club America coach Gustavo Matosas said through an interpreter. “We knew we had possession of the ball, we were playing well and we just had to have patience. The quality of my players showed today. They scored the goals we needed. I also congratulate Montreal. They have a great team and they had a good performance.”

Andres Romero and substitute Jack McInerney scored for Montreal, the first Canadian team to reach the final after dramatic wins in the quarterfinals over Mexico’s Pachuca and Costa Rica’s Alajuelense.

“I thought we were the better team in the first half, but when you give a team like that good looks at goal, they’re going to punish you,” Impact midfielder Dilly Duka said. “They were all over us in the second half.”

A capacity crowd of 61,004 had Olympic Stadium vibrating even before the kickoff as the Impact fans’ “Allez Montreal” song drowned a sizable contingent of America supporters.

Montreal went into the match without suspended goalkeeper Evan Bush. German Kristian Nicht, acquired two days earlier from Indy Eleven of the NASL, could not bail out his overwhelmed squad.

“It’s pretty low in there,” Duka said with a gesture to the Impact locker-room. “But thinking about it, we should be proud of what we’ve done.

“Our team was put together two months ago and we came together and had a good run. Club America’s history, talent, payroll, speak for themselves. You give them a chance and they’re going to punish you.”

The Impact got the early goal they wanted when Ignacio Piatti dribbled through two defenders on the right side and fed fellow Argentine Romero, who took a few steps to the left and then put a low shot across his body that beat goalkeeper Moises Munoz in the eighth minute.

America missed a chance to tie it in the 12th when Darwin Quintero’s free kick was headed from the left side to a wide open Benedetto, only to see his close range shot hit the woodwork.

Piatti was stopped from close range when he went in alone in the 24th.

America stormed out after the intermission and tied it in the 50th off a turnover. Osvaldo Martinez chipped the ball over a stagnant Montreal defense and Benedetto scored on an impressive volley that Nicht got his hands on but couldn’t hold on to.

Quintero headed a ball that Peralta nodded home from close range in the 64th. Only 2 minutes later, Bendetto charged up the middle and volleyed home a Miguel Samudio feed.

Then Benedetto scored on an open shot from near the penalty spot in the 81st when the Montreal defense overran the ball.

Piatti slipped a pass to the onrushing McInerney for a goal that brought the crowd back to life in the 89th.

Puerto Vallarta News

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