CCL 2011-12 Qualifiers: Costa Rican, Honduran Finals

Posted on May 1, 2011 9:37 pm

The second leg of the Saprissa-San Carlos series merits the kind of question that the reporters on ESPN’s Around the Horn would consider: did San Carlos win the series (with two golazos, to be fair), or did Saprissa lose it (by failing to score at home)?

Either way, el Monstruo Morado choked in today’s game, losing 2-0 in the Estadio Saprissa and 3-2 on aggregate. Given that the team failed to make the final of either half-season tournament in the 2010-11 year, Deportivo Saprissa cannot even aspire to a wild-card spot should Costa Rica receive one. Thus, one of CONCACAF’s most storied clubs will have to sit out the next Champions League.

The Torneo de Verano Final will be played over two legs between the following teams (first team listed hosts second leg):

LD Alajuelense vs. San Carlos

If San Carlos manages to win the championship, el Tren del norte will make its debut in the next CCL as Costa Rica’s second team, heading to the preliminaries. If Alajuelense wins, however, the Invierno runner-up Herediano will walk off with the CRC2 spot – right now, Herediano has 70 points over the whole year against San Carlos’s 65. The only way San Carlos could catch up now is with two wins in the Final, i.e. winning it.

To recap:

San Carlos wins the Final –> San Carlos gets the CRC2 spot, Herediano is first in line for a wild-card entry

Alajuelense wins the Final –> Herediano gets the CRC2 spot, San Carlos is first in line for a wild-card entry

UPDATE: La Nación has confirmed that the first leg will take place on Sunday, May 8 at 7 p.m. EST in the Estadio Carlos Ugalde (San Carlos’s stadium), with the return leg being played the following Saturday at 10 p.m. EST in the Morera Soto.

Meanwhile, in Honduras, the second leg of the Olimpia-Marathon series ended in complete bedlam: with the game still at 0-0 going into injury time, an assistant referee lifted his flag to indicate the ball went out of bounds, when in fact it hadn’t. The head ref rightly ignored said flag, Olimpia kept playing, and a cross that went into the box floated over Shane Orio’s grasp, bounced off of an unfortunate defender and went in. Marathon’s players rushed the referee, Olimpia’s players went to state their case, and the police intervened to protect the refs (to be fair, no one had physically accosted them) while they made the decision to award the goal, ignore Marathon’s complaints and call the game even with at least three minutes in overtime left to play, giving Olimpia the 1-1 aggregate result el Leon needed to get to the Final based on their regular season record.

With all that said, the Honduran Clausura Final will be a Tegucigalpa derby (first team listed…):

Olimpia vs. Motagua

And as for Honduras’s automatic spot in the group stages: if playoff results do not count, then Olimpia is ahead of Apertura champion Real Espana on 61 points against 54, respectively, while Motagua falls behind on 52. And if playoff results do count, then Olimpia is ahead of Real on 71 points to 62, respectively, with Motagua too far behind (55) to catch Real even with two straight wins.

So for the Honduran Clausura Final, the equation is this:

Olimpia wins the Clausura –> Olimpia takes the HON1 spot, and Real Espana gets HON2

Motagua wins the Clausura –> Real Espana takes the HON1 spot, and Motagua gets HON2

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