CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers
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CONCACAF.com

Pumas will return to the CONCACAF Champions League for the third time in four years, qualifying for next season’s continental club championship along with fellow Mexican side Morelia and five Central American clubs.

Pumas’ 2-0 victory over Chivas de Guadalajara on Sunday completed a 3-1 aggregate victory in the semifinals of the Mexican Clausura Liguilla playoffs, and pitted it against Morelia, which beat Cruz Azul 3-0 to overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit.

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Cruz Azul’s loss kept it from a fourth straight appearance in the Champions League. It reached the finals the first two years and lost to eventual champion Monterrey in the semifinals of this season’s competition in March.

Alianza defeated FAS 2-1 Sunday, getting a pair of goals by Rodolfo Zelaya to win the Salvadoran Clausura title, its 10th league crown and first since 2004. It will enter the Champions League in the Preliminary Round, joining Metapan, which won the Apertura.

In Tegucigalpa on Sunday, Jerry Bengston scored twice, including a injury time penalty, and Amado Guevara added another to lead Motagua past Olimpia 3-1 and complete a 5-3 victory for the Honduran Clausura championship.

Real Espana won the Apertura and Honduras’ guaranteed place in the Group Stage. Motagua, which was eliminated in last year’s Preliminary Round by Toronto FC, will return to the knockout stage.
In Guatemala, Comunicaciones again topped Municipal, winning the Clausura title with a 3-0 victory on Sunday and 6-0 aggregate win, assuring itself of a place in the Group Stage. Comunicaciones beat Municipal on penalties for the Apertura title in December.

Comunicaciones reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League in its only other appearance in 2010 while Municipal will return for a second straight year and third time overall.

On Saturday, San Francisco outlasted Chorillo 3-2 in extra time on Roberto Brown’s 91st-minute strike to claim the Panamanian Clausura crown and a fourth straight Champions League berth. Tauro won the Apertura and will go directly into the Group Phase. San Francisco will be placed in the Preliminary Round, where it has been eliminated the past two years by San Juan Jabloteh and Cruz Azul.

Alajuelense completed its sweep of the Costa Rican first-division titles, subduing San Carlos on Saturday 1-0 for a 2-0 aggregate victory in the Torneo Verano and a Group Stage berth. Herediano will get Costa Rica’s place in the Preliminary Round having lost the Invierno final to Alajuelense on penalties in December but finishing with the better overall record over the two seasons between itself and San Carlos.

The winner of the Mexican Clausura also join the Group Stage along with Apertura winner Monterrey, and the reigning CONCACAF Champions League winner, while the runner-up will be placed in the Preliminary Round with Santos Laguna.

The weekend results brought to 19 the number of teams that have qualified for next season’s tournament, seven of which already are guaranteed places in the Group Stage.

The Canadian champion, the Caribbean’s three berths, plus Nicaragua’s spot are still undetermined.
The field will learn its opponents when CONCACAF stages its Preliminary Round and Group Stage draw on Wednesday.

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