A Raul Ruidiaz brace helped secured the Seattle Sounders their first CONCACAF Champions League title, with a 3-0 victory over Pumas UNAM to win 5-2 on aggregate on Wednesday.

With the scores level to open the game, it proved to be a very cagey opening 45 minutes and the Sounders faced early difficulty, with Nouhou Tolo and Joao Paulo forced off with injuries.

Brian Schmetzer's side got a break just before the interval, however, with Raul Ruidiaz scoring following a scramble in the penalty area in the 45th minute.

Needing to chase the game with the ball, Pumas really struggled to create anything of substance in the second half as the Sounders absorbed pressure.

Indicative of the second leg's complexion, the best chance with the tie in the balance fell to Seattle via Alex Roldan, who intercepted a rushed throw out from Alejandro Talavera in the Pumas goal.

Ruidiaz eventually wrapped up the tie and trophy for Seattle, scoring in transition in the 80th minute. After his two penalties in the first leg, Nico Lodeiro scored Seattle's third in the 87th minute after another Pumas loss of possession.

The Seattle Sounders are already looking ahead to taking on either Liverpool or Real Madrid after achieving "immortality" by winning the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Sounders beat Pumas UNAM 3-0 at Lumen Field on Wednesday to complete a 5-2 aggregate triumph and finally deliver a first Champions League title for MLS.

Seattle are the league's third CONCACAF champions but first in the Champions League era after a series of heartbreaks for rival clubs.

Two goals from Raul Ruidiaz and a late clincher from captain Nicolas Lodeiro sparked scenes of mass celebration in front of a raucous, record crowd of over 68,741.

Garth Lagerwey, the Sounders' general manager, gave Extratime his assessment: "Immortality. You get into sports for stuff people can never take away.

"This will be written down, it will be there forever. Hopefully it's the first of many."

Real Salt Lake, CF Montreal, Toronto FC and Los Angeles FC had each previously fallen at this final hurdle.

Now, for MLS, Lagerwey says, Seattle are "the symbol, we're the tip of the spear, we pushed through, we finally did it, we vanquished the demons".

"But everybody's welcome," he added. "We want a crowded mountaintop up here. We don't want to be up here by ourselves."

Playing just hours after Madrid had completed an epic semi-final fightback against Manchester City in UEFA's Champions League, Lagerwey could not help consider a Club World Cup clash with a European giant.

"We're going to play against Real Madrid or Liverpool in a real game for a trophy," he said, with Seattle's place in the tournament secure. "I feel like a little kid. This is the stuff you dream of."

The Sounders had already won two MLS Cups, a Supporters' Shield and four U.S. Open Cups, but this victory takes the club to another level entirely.

"I think we're going to become a global club now," the GM added.

"I've got to think my phone's got to start ringing once some people see what our fanbase, our building... it's as good a soccer environment as anywhere in the world. It just is. This is a pretty special place."

A Raul Ruidiaz brace helped secured the Seattle Sounders their first CONCACAF Champions League title, with a 3-0 victory over Pumas UNAM to win 5-2 on aggregate on Wednesday.

With the scores level to open the game, it proved to be a very cagey opening 45 minutes and the Sounders faced early difficulty, with Nouhou Tolo and Joao Paulo forced off with injuries.

Brian Schmetzer's side got a break just before the interval, however, with Raul Ruidiaz scoring following a scramble in the penalty area in the 45th minute.

Needing to chase the game with the ball, Pumas really struggled to create anything of substance in the second half as the Sounders absorbed pressure.

Indicative of the second leg's complexion, the best chance with the tie in the balance fell to Seattle via Alex Roldan, who intercepted a rushed throw out from Alejandro Talavera in the Pumas goal.

Ruidiaz eventually wrapped up the tie and trophy for Seattle, scoring in transition in the 80th minute. After his two penalties in the first leg, Nico Lodeiro scored Seattle's third in the 87th minute after another Pumas loss of possession.

Nicolas Lodeiro scored two late penalties as the Seattle Sounders snatched a 2-2 draw against Pumas in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Trailing to a double from Juan Dinenno, Seattle battled back in Mexico City to make it honours even ahead of next Wednesday's second leg at Lumen Field. Lodeiro's leveller came in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

This opener at Estadio Olímpico Universitario saw Dinenno take the lead with a twice-taken penalty in the 38th minute. His first attempt was saved by Stefan Frei, but the goalkeeper was ruled to have stepped off his line.

Dinenno headed in powerfully for Pumas' second goal in the 48th minute, but the comeback began when Seattle were awarded a penalty for a handball by Sebastian Saucedo, and Lodeiro drove home in the 77th minute.

Lodeiro fired into the right corner on that occasion and was handed another spot-kick deep into stoppage time.

Cristian Roldan was judged to have been fouled on the right side of the penalty area by veteran defender Efrain Velarde, and Lodeiro chose to go the same way, again beating goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera with a powerful strike.

The Seattle Sounders made the CONCACAF Champions League final for the first time in their history, despite a draw away to New York City FC on Wednesday.

The 1-1 result at Red Bull Arena in the second leg put the Sounders through 4-2 on aggregate, following their comfortable 3-1 win in last week's first leg.

Given what was at stake, it was a fiery opening from the outset, with elbows leading and City's Valentin Castellanos earning a yellow card in onl the opening minute.

The Sounders put themselves in the box seat in the 28th minute, though, with Raul Ruidiaz scoring and getting the Sounders 4-1 ahead on aggregate.

City had the proverbial mountain to climb even after Santiago Rodriguez's goal in the 51st minute, but Stefan Frei still came to the rescue for Brian Schmetzer's side, coming up with important reflex saves on multiple occasions in the second half.

The Sounders will now face Pumas UNAM in the Champions League final, after they saw their way past Cruz Azul on Tuesday.

It marks only the fifth time since 2010 that North American club football's showpiece has not been contested by two Mexican teams.

 

 

Pumas UNAM have earned a shot at their fourth CONCACAF Champions League title after holding on for a 0-0 draw at Cruz Azul on Tuesday to secure a berth in the final.

The 2020 Mexican Guardianes runners-up, who were reduced to 10 men after Arturo Ortiz's 63rd-minute red card, will face the winner of the tie between New York City and Seattle Sounders.

Seattle won the first leg at home 3-1, with the second leg to be played on Wednesday, ahead of the continental decider with the first leg scheduled for later this month.

Juan Dinneno's double in the first leg gave Pumas the advantage in both scoreline and complexion, in comparison to what was a cagey first leg.

With Cruz Azul needing to chase the game and tie, space was not a premium on Tuesday and it was largely characterised by end-to-end football, with chances for both teams.

Uriel Antuna came closest for the hosts, but they were lacking composure in both the final pass and in front of goal.

Cruz Azul were given a small lifeline just past the hour, with Ortiz sent off for dragging down Santiago Gimenez as the last man in the 63rd minute.

Pumas were even denied a penalty in the 75th minute and managed to hold on. They will face the winner of the tie between New York City and the Seattle Sounders.

The Seattle Sounders were excellent on the way to a 3-1 home win against New York City FC in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semi-final.

An action-packed first half saw Seattle head into half-time with a 2-1 lead, and it was largely through the good work of Jordan Morris.

Albert Rusnak broke the deadlock in the 16th minute – which was assisted by Morris – and after New York City's Thiago Andrade squared the ledger in the 27th minute, Morris added the Sounders' second just seven minutes later.

The home side was good value for their early lead, with 1.51 expected goals to 0.72 in the first 45 minutes.

Seattle captain Nicolas Lodeiro gave his side some breathing room just over 20 minutes into the second stanza, successfully converting his penalty in the 68th minute to make it 3-1.

New York City will host the second leg on Wednesday, April 13, where the winner on aggregate will go through to the final to face the winner of Pumas UNAM and Cruz Azul, with the former leading 2-1 after their first leg at home.

Pumas UNAM went one step closer to an appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League final, claiming a 2-1 win over Cruz Azul in Tuesday's semi-final first leg.

A Juan Dinenno first-half brace ultimately separated the two side in what was an intense and tight contest.

Cruz Azul were denied the lead in the 20th minute after well-worked move, with Uriel Antuna ruled offside for his finish from Ignacio Rivero's deft reverse pass.

Pumas somehow did not break the deadlock after Cruz Azul goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado's charge for a cross, as Luis Abram scrambled to clear Favio Alvarez's shot off the line.

Pumas eventually got off the mark through Dinenno in the 37th minute and in similarly chaotic circumstances, with another Abram clearance off the line deflecting off the post, then onto Dinenno's foot and in.

He doubled the margin for Pumas in a more conventional manner in first-half injury time, reading Alan Mozo's cross best to powerfully head home past Jurado.

Cruz Azul gave themselves a late lifeline in the tie, though, with Christian Tabo's goal in the 83rd minute.

Monterrey claimed a fifth CONCACAF Champions League title after edging Mexican rivals Club America 1-0 in the final.

Rogelio Funes Mori was the hero, with the Mexico international's ninth-minute goal proving the difference at Estadio BBVA in Guadalupe on Thursday.

America defender Sebastian Caceres failed to deal with a ball into the penalty area, his whiffled clearance gifting Mori and Monterrey the early opener.

Former Tottenham striker Victor Janssen went close to doubling Monterrey's lead with 10 minutes of regulation remaining after rounding goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, but his effort was cleared off the line.

There were incredibly 15 minutes of stoppage time and America came close to dramatically equalising in the 101st minute when Federico Vinas rattled the crossbar in a goal-mouth scramble.

Monterrey, though, held on for their second Champions League trophy in three years.

Four-time winners Monterrey will play America in the final of the CONCACAF Champions League after a 4-1 second-leg away win over Cruz Azul sealed a 5-1 aggregate victory in their semi-final.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg in Monterrey, the visitors blew away Cruz Azul in a stunning opening 25 minutes where they opened up a 3-1 lead.

Maximiliano Meza and Orbelin Pineda traded goals within the opening 10 minutes, before Duvan Vergara and Rogelio Funes Mori netted to make it 3-1.

Mexican international Funes Mori added another in the 52nd minute to complete the win for Monterrey, who were Champions League winners in 2019.

Carlos Rodriguez found Meza unmarked inside the box, dispatching a low finish off the post for a seventh-minute lead and 2-0 advantage on aggregate.

Guillermo Fernandez teed up Orbelin Pineda for a low drive from a set-piece to equalize in the 10th minute.

Vergara curled in a spectacular 17th-minute goal after Meza's initial cross was over-hit, before Monterrey goalkeeper Esteban Andrada made a fine save to deny Fernandez.

Funes Mori made it 3-1 in the 24th minute, after a lengthy VAR review for offside, with a sweeping first-time left-foot finish.

Andrare denied substitute Bryan Angulo, before Funes Mori worked a one-two with Meza to settle the contest early in the second half.

Monterrey will face America in an all-Mexican final on October 28 in Guadalupe.

Club America reached the CONCACAF Champions League final after eliminating Philadelphia Union 2-0 on Wednesday.

Liga MX giants America sealed a 4-0 aggregate semi-final triumph thanks to second-half goals from Nicolas Benedetti and Henry Martin.

America – seven-time champions – will face either Cruz Azul or Monterrey in an all-Mexican final on October 28.

MLS outfit the Union had a two-goal deficit to overturn in Philadelphia midweek and the home side came close to scoring five minutes into the second half.

The Union had a penalty saved by Mexico international Guillermo Ochoa, who denied Jamiro Monteiro, after Kacper Przybylko was fouled by Bruno Valdez.

Philadelphia – looking to end MLS' title drought in the Champions League, dating back to LA Galaxy's success in 2000, dominated the second half.

However, Benedetti all but settled the contest in the 79th minute before Martin tapped home America's second of the night in stoppage time.

Bayern Munich will face either Al-Duhail or Al Ahly in their Club World Cup semi-final on February 8.

The competition's draw took place on Tuesday in Zurich and confirmed European champions Bayern will tackle hosts Al-Duhail or CAF Champions League holders Al Ahly.

Al-Duhail secured their qualification as hosts by winning the Qatar Stars League in 2019-20, with no Qatari side managing to win the AFC Champions League.

Egyptian giants Al Ahly won African club football's biggest prize in November and qualified for the Club World Cup for the sixth time, having last appeared in 2013, which was also Bayern's only previous appearance.

Al-Duhail received a walkover into the second round after Auckland City, who had been nominated as Oceania's representative, pulled out due to coronavirus quarantine measures implemented by authorities in their native New Zealand.

The other second-round clash drawn on Tuesday will see AFC Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai face CONCACAF champions Tigres of Mexico, who are making their first appearance.

Tigres or Ulsan will go forward from that tie to play the Copa Libertadores champions – Santos and Palmeiras are due to face off in an all-Brazilian final of that competition on January 30.

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