Mexico’s Pachuca CF emerged victorious Wednesday night to retain the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup title after an impressive display in the second leg of the final against Deportivo Saprissa.
“Los Tuzos” won 2-1 to take the two-legged tie 3-2 on aggregate.
Having staged a dramatic late comeback to secure a draw in the home leg last week, Saprissa had high hopes of winning a fourth title, with striker Alejandro Alpízar telling the club’s Web site, “We will sweat blood if we have to.”
However, Saprissa got the worst possible start as, with just three minutes gone, Pachuca’s Christian Giménez exchanged passes with Gabriel Rey before burying his first time shot into the bottom left corner.
The visitors looked shell-shocked and allowed the Mexicans to control much of the first half hour. In fact, Saprissa was indebted to goalkeeper Keilor Navas who kept them in the game with some great stops, none better than a fantastic double save in the 29th minute.
Saprissa slowly worked back into contention and could easily have leveled by the break. Pachuca goalkeeper Miguel Calero made a superb fingertip save from a Ronald Gómez header, and Fausto Pinto cleared a Celso Borges effort off the line to maintain their advantage.
Heading home from close range, Pachuca’s Gabriel Rey then delivered a knockout blow less than 10 minutes into the second period. Saprissa Coach Jeaustin Campos made some attacking substitutions, but to no avail.
Saprissa did grab a consolation goal in injury time when Jairo Arrieta poked the ball home to spark a frantic final minute, but Pachuca held out and now can look forward to a place in the FIFA Club World Cup, to be held in Japan in December.
Despite the result Campos was rightly proud of his team.
“They put their hearts into it,” he said. Saprissa will now concentrate on trying to secure the domestic league title.