9/29/2009 – MEXICO CITY –Mexican Apertura scoring leader Emmanuel Villa scored in the 51st minute and capped Cruz Azul’s 2-0 victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders Tuesday night, eliminating last year’s semifinalists from quarterfinal contention in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Villa, who has 10 goals in the Mexican league, was unmarked at the right post to head in a cross and doom any remaining chance Puerto Rico had of returning to the knockout round.
Cruz Azul, which had clinched its place in the quarterfinals last week, improved to 13 points atop Group C and clinched a seeded berth in the quarterfinals next year. Puerto Rico – playing its fourth game in eight days and 10 matches in the last 24 days — remained last with two points from five games.
Mario Ortiz put Cruz Azul ahead in the sixth minute finishing an exchange between Joel Huqui and Alejandro Vela on the left side. Huqui and Vela traded passes before Huqui worked his way into the penalty area and slid a ball to Ortiz at the top of the six-yard-box.
Ortiz avoided the slide tackle attempt by Puerto Rico defender Kyle Veris and easily finished past goalkeeper Justin Myers, who was playing in place of regular Bill Gaudette.
Puerto Rico started brightly, with Josh Hansen putting a shot wide from 30 meters in the fourth minute. But Cruz Azul began to dominate possession and largely limited the Islanders to attempts from distance.
Chances that Puerto Rico managed to generate closer to goal went high or wide, including Kendall Jagdeosingh’s attempt from inside the area off a deflected ball that was sent well over the bar in the 28th.
A steady rain that fell during the last 15 minutes of the first half didn’t help the Islanders.
Cruz Azul will conclude its group scheduled on October 20 at Saprissa, while the Islanders will host Columbus the same day. Columbus will need only a draw to advance while Saprissa will need a victory and a Columbus loss to reach the quarterfinals.