Rampant Atlas back from dead in Concachampions
Julián Quiñones and Aldo Rocha sparked Atlas to a 4-0 victory over Olimpia at Estadio Jalisco to erase the 4-1 deficit from the first leg in Honduras.
“Los Rojinegros” attacked from the outset but were frustrated by poor finishing and missed opportunities. After 35 minutes of dominance, Atlas Nation was getting a bit antsy.
Quiñones started the comeback in minute 38, heading home a perfect pass from Luis Reyes. Though the Zorros went to the locker room on the wrong side of a 4-2 aggregate scoreline, Atlas was swarming and confident.
In minute 62, an Atlas corner kick pinballed into the middle of the box and Ozziel Herrera banged the loose ball through a scrum and into the net.
Another goal seemed inevitable and captain Rocha delivered in spectacular fashion in minute 77. Rocha had been a demon in midfield all game, pressuring any Olimpia player approaching his territory and moving play forward smoothly when the Zorros had possession.
A Brian Lozano cross was punched out by goalie Edrick Menjivar, coming down about 25 meters upfield where the onrushing Rocha settled the ball and fired a laser that clanged off the left post. The ball bounded straight back to the hard-charging Rocha who made no mistake with his second right-footed blast, this one from a meter or two inside the box.
Elsewhere in CCL Round of 16
Atlas’ next opponent, Philadelphia Union (last season’s MLS runner-up), coasted past visiting Alianza of El Salvador 4-0. The two clubs had played to a scoreless draw last week in San Salvador
Alianza’s Alexis Montes was shown a red card in minute 40 and the Union took advantage, scoring once just before the break and adding three more in the second half.
In a huge upset, Haiti’s Violette AC gamely held on for a 3-2 aggregate win over MLS club Austin FC. Violette was playing short-handed since visa issues prevented several starters from traveling to the United States. Austin fired 35 shots but only scored twice as goalie Paul Decius made 9 saves. The Haitians will face the winner of the León-Tauro (Panama) series.