CONCACAF Champions League
03 Aug 2012
- Written by CONCACAF.COM
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Edgar Chinchilla scored twice in the final 16 minutes and Xelaju rallied for a 2-2 draw with DirecTV W Connection on Thursday in a game that marked both teams' return to the CONCACAF Champions League.
Chinchilla tallied his second in the 89th minute with a left-footed drive from 23 meters that spoiled the Trinidadian's first game in the Champions League in three years.
The second-half substitute, who had played only 43 minutes in Xelaju's four Guatemalan league matches this season, started the club's rally with a goal in the 74th.
Each team had the better of play in one half with W Connection jumping ahead 2-0 in the first and Xelaju storming back in the second.
Hachim Arcia scored in the 23rd and Rennie Britto added his in the 34th as the Trinidadian side played its first competitive match since losing the Caribbean Club Championship final to Caledonia in June and its first match in the Champions League in nearly three years.
The match was a key opener for both sides, which will have to play 11-time Mexican league champion Chivas de Guadalajara later in Group 8.
W Connection had most of the play in the first half and went ahead after Andrei Pacheco sprinted down the left side to the byline, was able to get around Xelaju defender Fredy Taylor and sent a cross back in front of the goal.
Britto was able to get a slight deflection of the ball before it rolled to Arcia, who retreated a step outside the six before knocking a left-footed shot inside the right post.
The Trinidadians created several more chances and doubled their lead Johny Giron blocked Clyde Leon's cross, but the Xelaju defender was unable to clear the ball. Jerrel Britto ran on to the loose ball, touched it to his right to an unmarked Rennie Britto, and he finished easily from the middle of the area.
Xelaju started the second half brighter - testing W Connection keeper Jan-Michael Williams with Israel Silva's shot from distance in the 69th --- and scored when Chinchilla headed a ball that Joevin Jones was unable to clear with his head.
Chinchilla followed the ball and volleyed it as it fell at the top of the box, sending it in off the underside of the crossbar.
He equalized by settling a ball out of the back, dribbling to the top of the 18, touching it to his left and unleashing a fierce drive that Williams never touched.
Highlights: - Click Here
W Connection: - 18 Jan-Michael Williams; 13.Kern Cupid, 12.Gerard Williams, 19.Leslie Russell (Yellow 66) (3.Akeem Benjamin 73rd), 4.Daneil Cyrus, 36.Joevin Jones, 17.Andrei Pacheco (20.Silvio Spann 71st), 8.Clyde Leon, 7.Rennie Britto, 14.Hachim Arcia (Yellow 58) (40.Shahdon Winchester 72nd) (Yellow 77), 31.Jerrel Britto.
Coach: -Stuart Charles-Fevrier (St Lucia).
Xelajú: - 1.Fernando Patterson; 5.Fredy Santiago, 2.Johny Girón, 12.Alexander Cifuentes, 7.Edwin Villatoro, 18.Manuel León, 6.Julio Estacuy , 15.Kevin Arriola (Edgar Chinchilla 60th), 24.Alejandro Alpízar, 9.Israel Silva, 8.Edgar Greaves (10.Sergio Morales 36th).
Coach: - Herman Medford (Costa Rica).
Referee: - Marlon Mejia (El Salvador).
Venue: - Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Trinidad.
GP W T L GF GA GD Pts
W Connection 1 0 1 0 2 2 +0 1
Xelajú 1 0 1 0 2 2 +0 1
Guadalajara 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0 0
Musing on the W Connection *defeat* draw with Guatemala’s Xelaju from my coverage last night in the CONCACAF Champions League
On February 11th 2009, the Soca Warriors drew 2-2 at the Estadio Cuscatián, San Salvador. Carlos Edwards and Dwightie put us 2-0 up in the first half. Stern John missed a second-half penalty, Kenwyne Jones EPL monolith, was out-muscled by players half his size and Romero’s late double pegged the match back 2-2. At the time it was considered a harmless result by a lot of the locals, but it set the precedent for a poor Hexagonal campaign.
The Central American opponents last night were not El Salvadorian, but they could have been mistaken for some as the many parallels could be drawn from the final result. W Connection took on Xelaju MC from Guatemala (don’t ask me how to pronounce that). The reigning Pro League Champs were probably fancying their chances and had the general backing from a local crowd who probably thought this was a walk in the park. The visitors came into this CL match as reigning Guatemala Clausura Champion and won five league titles back home.
They were tidy and organised throughout (Xelaju that is) as their playing style matched their neat kit. For a long spell in the first half though, it seemed as if Connection were in control. Biting in the tackle, they hustled and harried their opponents who were unwilling to mix it physically. Thus it the 2-0 score line at the half was inevitable seemingly.
The goals came from defensive errors; both times the Xelaju central defence failed to deal with straightforward balls into the box. The W Connection goals were deserved based on their superiority, but were not well-made in my opinion. But goals are goals, and the Trinidadian in me said: “Good Job!” The half time whistle seemed to interrupt the flow as the Savonnetta Boys were on a rampage at that point. But with timid opposition like this they would easily pick up where they left off in the second half, right?
Wrong. The second half brought two different teams seemingly. Xelaju looked unaccustomed to the pitch and playing style of their hosts. With the number of under-weighed passes they made it is reasonable to assume, they are accustomed to watered pitches back home. It required a minor adjustment in their approach, and they had the better second half. Tap-tap-tap-tap: the ball ping-ponged through the Connection midfield. Chasing shadows took the sting out of their attack, and they started to catch more man than ball with their tackling as frustration started to mount.
The Brazilian captain Israel Silva had a few cracks at Jan Michael Williams, and a few step-overs as well. But the score remained at 2-0. Anyone who came into the stadium at this point could have been forgiven for assuming that Xelaju were the team ahead, as the run of play suggested. Then it happened; Edgar Chinchilla came to life and volleyed in from outside the 18. Nothing the visitors did before in terms of shooting suggested that they carried this threat, but one shot was all they needed to start the comeback as this was their first shot on target. Connection were more panicked than urgent at this point, but were still good enough for the win as Shadon Winchester’s invention created the third goal. Jerrel Britto refused to score it however, as he missed an open goal when he stretched to meet it. So with opportunities to kill the match going begging Chinchilla latched on to a flicked header, cut inside and punished every Trinibagonian in the venue with his equalising rocket.
Like the national team three and a half years prior, Connection failed to beat a very beatable opponent. Even Connection’s Champions League all-time record was better (3-2-3) to Xelaju (0-1-1). But a lack of professionalism cost them as they failed to consolidate their advantage. Another talking point was their lethargy in the second half; they seemed to be running on fumes at the end, which is curious as the match was never played at a high tempo. So what was supposed to be a valuable three points turned into one solitary point. The most important thing is that the Savonnetta Boys need to bounce back and quickly as they head to Mexico next to face Guadalajara. The Marabella team is not short on talent by any stretch, but have to show more character when things do not go their way.
Overall though, it was an entertaining match; fun and adventurous. I am looking forward to the match when we host the Mexicans on September 26th – that should be an epic clash. Hopefully Connection will still be in the tournament and not just playing for pride. The Pro League team for a long period, looked more physically and tactically capable in this match but were beaten for sustained skill, determination and Chinchilla’s left foot. Best of luck to the boys in Mexico.