Leon coach Nicolas Larcamon saw his side beat Panama's Tauro 2-0 (3-0 aggregate) on Thursday to set up a quarter-final with Haiti's Violette
Miami (AFP) - Mexico’s five-times CONCACAF champions Pachuca suffered a shock exit from the Champions League at the hands of Motagua on Thursday after a 1-1 draw in the last 16.
After the first leg finished goalless, the Honduran champions progress on the away goals rule and will get a chance to upset another Liga-MX giant when they face Tigres in next month’s quarter-finals.
Pachuca looked to be heading into the next round after an Illian Hernandez header put them ahead in the 73rd minute, but then in the final minutes a wild challenge from Oscar Murrillo on Roberto Moreira in the box saw the referee point to the penalty spot.
Eddie Hernandez’s penalty was far from perfect but Pachuca keeper Marlon Licona failed to reach it and suddenly the Mexicans were staring at the exit.
Pachuca poured forward in search of a late winner but the visitors almost added a second when Moreira forced a fine save out of Licona with a firm drive.
The referee added on over eight minutes of stoppage time but despite the home side pumping balls into the box, Motagua held firm and celebrated wildly at the final whistle.
It is the first time that Motagua have reached the last eight since 2009, the final year of the old Champions Cup.
There was better news for Mexico’s Leon, who defeated Tauro of Panama 2-0 to advance into the last eight with a 3-0 aggregate win.
The victory for Nicolas Larcamon’s team sets up a quarter-final meeting with Haitian surprise package Violette AC, who upset Major League Soccer club Austin.
Home side Leon, 1-0 up from the first leg, dominated from the outset and went close to an opener when Jose Alvarado headed an Elias Hernandez cross against the post in the 20th minute.
Six minutes later Leon had the lead when Hernandez broke down the left and picked out Brian Rubio with a low cross and the striker made no mistake with a clinical right-foot finish.
Tauro responded immediately with Breidy Goluz running on to a through ball from Francisco Vence and firing home, but the flag was raised for offside.
Leon pushed for the second goal that would end the Panamanian resistance, Lucas Romero flashing a shot just over the bar from outside the box and then Rubio headed a Steven Barreiro cross over.
But on the stroke of half-time, the impressive Hernandez was fed by Osvaldo Rodriguez, cut inside from the left flank and then drilled a right-foot shot into the far corner.
Leon had chances after the break to add to their advantage with Rodriguez seeing a low shot well saved by Tauro keeper Eric Hughes and Costa Rican Joel Campbell firing just wide.
The other quarter-finals will see an all-MLS affair between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Los Angeles FC while Mexico’s Atlas will face the Philadelphia Union.