CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Islanders eliminated on penalties by Cruz Azul

April 7, 2009

Mexico's Cruz Azul eliminated the Puerto Rico Islanders in Mexico City on Tuesday to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League final. After the game had finished 3-1 in favor of Cruz Azul after extra time and tied 3-3 on aggregate, the hosts prevailed 4-2 over the Islanders in the penalty shootout.

The Islanders had entered the game holding a 2-0 lead from the first leg, and when Cruz Azul midfielder Cristian Riveros was sent off in the first half, things looked promising for the USL side.

Not to be deterred, Cruz Azul drew level through goals by Pablo Zeballos in the 44th minute and Javier Orozco in the 85th minute, sending the game to extra time. In response, the Islanders took the lead just one minute into the overtime session when Sandy Gbandi struck from 30 yards out. However, Cesar Villaluz drew the game level with a headed goal in the 99th minute.

In the penalty kick shootout, Cruz Azul's first two shooters buried their chances from the spot. However, Puerto Rico captain Noah Delgado's shot in the second round clanged off the right post, giving the hosts the advantage the rest of the way. Puerto Rico looked to be back in it when Gerardo Lugo missed Cruz Azul's fourth kick, but John Krause was unable to convert.

Cruz Azul, five-time CONCACAF champions, will face either Atlante or Santos in the Champions League final.