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Both Costa Rican clubs eliminated from CONCACAF Champions League

February 27, 2020

Costa Rica’s two representatives in the CONCACAF Champions League, Deportivo Saprissa and AD San Carlos, were both eliminated from the tournament on Wednesday night.

* * * *

Montreal Impact ground out a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League in manager Thierry Henry’s first competitive home match.

Former France international star Henry had goalkeeper Clement Diop to thank after denying Saprissa’s Mariano Torres from long-range in the 88th minute as the visitors finished strongly.

Montreal had been in control of the contest after a 2-2 draw in the first leg in San Jose last week, when they had taken a 2-0 lead before being pegged back.

However Henry’s side lived dangerously in Wednesday’s return fixture, inviting pressure with an ultra-defensive 5-4-1 line-up at Montreal’s 1976 Olympic Stadium.

Montreal barely created a chance of note in a lackluster game, Romell Quioto coming closest to conjuring a goal in the 45th minute when he squared to Shamit Shome who shot at Saprissa goalkeeper Aaron Cruz.

Instead it was Saprissa who looked the more threatening of the two sides for long periods, dominating possession but unable to find a way through a resolute Montreal defense.

The Costa Ricans’ best chance came two minutes from time, when veteran Argentinian midfielder Torres unleashed a powerful shot from just outside the area.

Senegal international Diop was equal to the challenge however, diving to his left to parry way as Montreal hung on for the 2-2 aggregate win on away goals.

Montreal will now play either Major League Soccer rivals Seattle Sounders or Honduras’ Olimpia in the last eight.

The CONCACAF Champions League is the premier club competition for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, with Mexican teams dominating the tournament.

Saprissa were the last non-Mexican winners of the competition in 2005, while only two teams from MLS — Los Angeles Galaxy in 2000 and D.C. United in 1998 — have lifted the title.

* * * *

AD San Carlos fell to New York City FC, 1-0, and lost by an aggregate score of 6-3.

An Alex Callens header gave NYCFC the victory Wednesday at Red Bull Arena, but the series result was never really in question after the MLS club won the opening leg in Costa Rica.

New York will face UANL Tigres in the quarterfinals.

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