The Mexican league champions Club America have been eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) after suffering a 0-1 loss at home to Alajuelense of Costa Rica. For a consecutive year a big Mexican club is eliminated in the group stage of the CCL after Chivas of Guadalajara was left behind in this stage last year.
America came in with all of the pressure on themselves needing a win and only a win to advance to the next stage of the CCL. As well as all of the National Team distractions that the club has been subjected to since the appointing of Miguel Herrera as new Mexico manager.
The first half was very toughly fought by both sides with opportunities on goal at a minimum. It was the visiting side who had a couple of dangerous chances on breakaways but goalkeeper Moises Muñoz was very aware to keep his goal clean.
The America attackers seemed to run out of ideas in the final third of the field since the Costa Rican team dropped back and defended with numbers closing down spaces. The game went into the break with a 0-0 draw on the board; result that would still have eliminated the Mexican champions.
Early in the second half Alajuelense struck gold as they found a goal in a counter attack in the 55th minute through Jerry Palacios; the brother of Premier League player Wilson Palacios. With the goal which forced America to look for two goals to stay alive the visitors dropped back even deeper to defend.
Raul Jimenez had the best opportunity to get the goal back in the 64th minute after a low cross came in from the left and with the goal wide open the young striker put the ball against the post. In the 73rd minute Aquivaldo Mosquera had a double shot inside of the box after a free kick and twice had his shot blocked.
With this morale crushing defeat Miguel Herrera, his coaching staff, and the 10 players he called up will now concentrate on getting Mexico through to the World Cup. The players will return to play the second to last week of league play; and the entire America outfit (Sporting Director, Manager, Coaching Staff, and Players) will return from New Zealand to play the Mexican league playoffs.