Olympic qualifying finals schedule announced
El Salvador will face Canada while the United States will start against Cuba to open the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying finals, the confederation announced Thursday.
Group A will begin play in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, March 22, with Group B in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson to follow the next day, pitting defending champion Honduras against Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico.
The group winners will face the runners-up in the opposite groups in the semifinals on Saturday, March 31 in Kansas City, Kansas, with the victors qualifying for the London Olympic Games July 27-August 12.
The winners will play April 2 in Kansas City to determine the CONCACAF champion For a full schedule please click here.
Tigres wins Mexican title, advances to CCL
Tigres UANL captured the Mexican Apertura title Sunday night and advanced into the Group Phase of next season’s CONCACAF Champions League. Several Central American teams closed in on berths with Olimpia winning the first leg of the finals of the Honduran Apertura tournament, while Herediano and Alajuelense drew 1-1 in the first leg of the Costa Rican Verano final.
Tigres defeated Santos 4-1 on aggregate on Sunday, rallying to win 3-1 in the second leg at home to claim its first Mexican league title since 1982. Santos, which has qualified for the quarterfinals of this season’s Champions League, will participate in the Champions League for a third straight year.
Olimpia moved within a draw of becoming the first team to qualify for all five editions of the Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Real Espana in the Honduran final. Carlos Mejia scored the winner in the 83rd minute, requiring Olimpia only to tie Espana in the second leg Saturday to secure the title and a Champions League berth.
Herediano held Alajuelense to a 1-1 draw in Alajuela on Sunday in the first leg of the Costa Rican Apertura finals. The second leg is set for Sunday. The winner will be guaranteed a spot in the Champions League.
Isidro Metapan and Once Municipal will play for the Salvadoran Apertura crown on Sunday at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador after weekend semifinal victories. Metapan defeated Firpo 3-0 Sunday for a 6-3 aggregate win, while Municipal completed its 3-1 triumph with a 2-1 win at FAS on Saturday. Like Olimpia, Metapan can qualify for a fifth straight appearance Champions League with a victory.
The two most titled teams in Guatemalan history will meet in that country’s Apertura finals after Municipal and Comunicaciones overcame their semifinal foes. Municipalwill host the first leg on Thursday at the Estadio Mateo Flores after its 3-2 aggregate victory – despite a 1-0 loss to Suchitepequez on Sunday. Comunicaciones, which got past Xelaju 4-2 on aggregate,will be home for the second leg on Sunday at the Estadio Cementos Progreso. Municipal will be seeking a third straight berth in the Champions League and its fourth in five years.
After a 1-1 tie on Sunday. Walter Ferreti and Real Esteli will decide the Nicaragua Apertura title next Saturday. The winner will qualify to the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League.
Monterrey falls in Club World Cup opener
Japanese J-League champion Kashiwa Reysol outlasted Monterrey 4-3 on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 draw, to eliminate the CONCACAF champion from contention at the FIFA Club World Cup.
It was the second straight time the CONCACAF Champions League winner was beaten at the quarterfinal stage, Last year, Pachuca was eliminated elimination by Congo DR’s TP Mazembe.
Monterrey next will face Tunisian side Esperance in the consolation match on Wednesday for fifth place. Esperance was beaten by Qatari club Al-Sadd 2-1 earlier Sunday.
Kashiwa will face South American champion Santos in one semifinal Wednesday, while Al-Sadd will face FC Barcelona on Thursday.
Aguilar to referee FIFA Club World Cup Semifinal
Referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador will officiate the FIFA Club World Cup semifinal between Barcelona and Al-Sadd of Qatar on Thursday in Japan.
Joining Aguilar will be fellow Salvadorans Wiliam Torres and Juan Francisco Zumba, both assistant referees
The three worked the Gold Cup final this past June and the first leg of the Champions League final in April.
Panama qualifies to the U-17 Women’s Championship
Karla Riley scored her second goal in four days and led Panama to a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica on Saturday that gave her country the final berth in the 2012 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship.
Riley, who scored in each of Panama’s four qualifying victories , tallied the winner in the 80th minute to complete a 3-1 aggregate triumph.
Panama joins Central American neighbor and CONCACAF U-17 women’s finals host Guatemala in the eight-team field, which also will include North American sides Canada, Mexico and the United States as well as Caribbean qualifiers Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Cuba ties Costa Rica in anniversary match
Kenny Cunningham scored two minutes into second-half stoppage time to give visiting Costa Rica a 1-1 draw with Cuba in a friendly on Sunday at the Estadio Pedro Marrero.
The game highlighted the Cuban Football Association’s celebrations marking 100 years of football on the island. Cuba led on Hevier Cordovez’s 57th minute penalty kick and, after going winless against the Ticos in 14 previous meetings, were seconds away from its first victory when Cunningham headed the equalizer past goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper.