Digicel T&T Pro League champions, DirecTV W Connection ended its involvement in Group Eight of the Concacaf Champions League with a 1-1 draw against Mexican powerhouse Chivas de Guadalajara at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Wednesday night. With the drawn result, W Connection finished bottom of the three-team group with two points from four matches, while Chivas improved to four points, three behind group leaders’ Xelaju of Guatemala which it will meet on October 25 at home in a battle for the lone qualification spot to the quarterfinals. Chivas will be hoping to avoid becoming the first Mexican team to fail to qualify for the quarterfinals since the Champions League began in 2008.
At Couva, 19-year-old Erick Torres scored his first goal of the season and gave Chivas a 1-0 lead six minutes before the interval, while Clyde Leon curled in a right-footed free kick to earn the host a share of the points in the 66th. Despite playing without several regulars due to injury, including Omar Arellano, Rafael Marquez Lugo, Marco Fabian and Miguel Ponce, Chivas had the overwhelming amount of possession and chances through the first 45 minutes. However, W Connection goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams made several dramatic saves to deny the visitors, getting his right hand to block Jesus Sanchez’s volley off a ball into the penalty- area in the 15th minute, and again knocking away Xavier Baez’s deflected free-kick in the 36th.
Chivas continued to press and finally tallied when Antonio Gallardo sent a ball wide to Omar Esparza, who crossed it low into the middle of the area for Torres, who settled, turned and hit a right-footed shot that got past Williams. On the resumption, W Connection started the better of both teams and drew level when Leon drilled a right-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area past the left side of a five-man wall and off the fingertips of Chivas keeper Luis Michel. Chivas continued to control the possession and tested Williams again in the 72nd when Baez’s drive from distance for the host club goalkeeper to extend to his right to knock it away and salvage a draw for his team.
In the other match, Harrison Rochez and Jonathan Reyes scored second-half goals to lift Marathon to a 2-1 win over Caledonia AIA Wednesday night at the Stadio Olimpico. Both teams were already eliminated from the Concacaf Champions League. The win was Marathon’s first win of the Group Four stage as the Hondurans moved into sole possession of second place with one match remaining. Marathon closes out its Champions League with a match against quarterfinal-bound Seattle at CenturyLink Field, Washington on October 24. Caledonia, meanwhile wrapped up its competition, earning just one point from four matches, which came in a 0-0 draw with Marathon at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on August 22.