3/4/2009 – SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Nicholas Addlery scored on a counter-attack 15 seconds into extra time and the Puerto Rico Islanders beat CD Marathon 1-0 on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Addlery, who had the first of two goals which rallied Puerto Rico to a 2-1 win in the first leg a week ago, drove a right-footed shot from the top of the penalty area to cap a 3-1 aggregate victory and send the Islanders to face Cruz Azul March 24-26 and April 7-9. Los Cementeros advanced later Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over Mexico City rival Pumas UNAM.
The Islanders, which play in the United Soccer Leagues’ First Division – the second tier of the North American professional game, won the first leg 2-1 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, last week, and were withstanding repeated offensive thrusts from Marathon when Addlery assured the victory.
Marathon’s exit leaves the Champions League only with clubs from Mexico and the USL. Puerto Rico’s fellow USL club the Montreal Impact leads its quarterfinal series against Santos Laguna 2-0 heading into their second leg Thursday in Torreon, Mexico.
Marathon manager Manuel Keosseian was forced to make two first-half substitutions due to injuries. Mariano Acevedo entered in the 12th minute to replaced Astor Henriquez, who was hurt in a collision with Cristian Arrieta, and Oscar Bonilla, who appeared to have a right hamstring ailment, had to come off in the 32nd for Orvin Paz.
It seemed not to have negatively affected Marathon, which dominated possession and chances. Marathon, which is in third place in the Honduran league, had and early chance in the 19th minute when Juan Carlos Garcia put a header from the edge of the 6-yard box off the right post.
Marathon, a six-time Honduran champion which already has qualified for next year’s Champions League, continued to create chances in the second half and came close a second time when Saul Martinez, hit the crossbar from distance in the 82nd.
But as it pushed more players forward, Marathon twice nearly was caught on the counter before Addlery’s goal. Kendall Jagdeosingh forced Marathon goalkeeper Juan Obelar into diving save in the 60th minute, and Adderly’s shot from distance seven minutes later also required a reaction effort from Obelar.
Puerto Rico goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, who led the USL with 10 shutouts last year, was very active, frequently punching balls clear and coming off his line to defuse dangerous situations.