Los Angeles Soccer: Cerro Porteņo
UANL Tigres and Pumas UNAM dominated the Mexican Primera Division's winter/spring Clausura tournament. Both will need miracles to remain in contention for the title.
Top-seeded Tigres and No. 2 Pumas were stomped in playoff openers this week, both dropping 3-1 decisions in quarterfinal first legs. The other group winner, Atlante, also was beaten.
Third-seeded Morelia was the only away side to win, with Joao Rojas setting up Manuel Perez and Rafael Marquez Lugo in a 2-1 triumph Thursday over America in Mexico City.
Guadalajara, in one of its best performances this season, routed Tigres in Zapopan, Jalisco, using second-half goals by Mario de Luna and Marco Fabian de la Mora, on a penalty kick, to pull away after Jesus Molina's diving header pulled the visitors even just after halftime.
Osvaldo Martinez and Walter Ayovi netted early goals, and Chilean star Humberto Suazo scored his 20th of the Apertura/Clausura as Monterrey, winner of the fall Apertura, buried Pumas. The Mexico City club lost its second in a row after falling just once in their first 16 Clausura games.
Cruz Azul also prevailed, beating Atlante, 2-1, on two Christian Gimenez goals. The Argentine standout could have had a hat trick, but Potros goalkeeper Arturo Muņoz stopped his penalty kick in the 68th minute. Former Chivas USA forward Giancarlo Maldonado scored for Atlante in the seventh minute, his third goal in as many games and fifth of the campaign.
Second legs will be played Saturday and Sunday.
LIGA DE ASCENSO: Alejando Molina's finish leaves Club Tijuana just 270 minutes, if all goes its way, from promotion to the Primera Division.
America will take on Argentina's Argentinos Juniors and Uruguay's Nacional in group play of next year's Copa Libertadores, but Friday's draw for South America's club competition didn't provide much information for the Aguilas' fellow Mexican qualifiers.
A quick rundown:
AMERICA: Mexico's top qualifier received the toughest draw among the Mexicans. Argentinos Juniors, winner of Argentina's Clausura title, is its country's No. 1 qualifier, and Nacional is Uruguay's No. 2 team in the competition. The fourth club will be Brazil's No. 3 qualifier: Fluminense, Corinthians or Cruzeiro.
Argentinos Juniors won the Libertadores championship in 1985; Nacional has three titles, the last in 1988. Cruzeiro has won twice and was in the 2009 final.
SAN LUIS: The Gladiadores were sent to Group 1, with Peru's (Universidad San Martin or Leon de Huanuco) and Paraguay's (Guarani, Libertad or Cerro Porteņo) top qualifiers and Colombia's No. 2 side.
JAGUARES: The Chiapas club will face the No. 3 team from Peru in the home-and-home first stage, with the winner heading to Group 6 with defending champion Internacional from Brazil (which beat Guadalajara in last summer's final), Bolivia's Jorge Wilstermann and Ecuador's No. 2 qualifier, either Emelec or LDU Quito.
SCHEDULE: The top two teams in each of eight groups will advance to the knockout phase. Opening games are scheduled for Jan. 26; group play begins Feb. 9; the knockout stage opens April 27; and the two-leg final will be June 15 and 22.