Thursday Kickoff: Pachuca wins CCL, Inter topples Barcelona and more

Thursday Kickoff: Pachuca wins CCL, Inter topples Barcelona and more

European Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Pachuca wins CCL, Inter topples Barcelona and more

PachucaCCL (Reuters) 

Pachuca looked poised for defeat as the final seconds ticked off the clock on Wednesday night, their hopes of another CONCACAF Champions League title fading with each passing moment.

That was before Edgar Benitez scored a dream goal in the 93rd minute to give Pachuca a 1-0 second-leg victory and Champions League final victory on away goals against Cruz Azul. The victory booked Pachuca's return to the FIFA Club World Cup.

U.S. national team midfielder Jose Francisco Torres started and played 80 minutes for Pachuca, and will now take part in the second Club World Cup of his young career (assuming he isn't sold between now and December).

If you missed the championship-winning goal, here it is:

Here are some other stories to get your Thursday going:

INTER'S STINGY DEFENSE TOPS BARCELONA

Inter Milan played a beautiful Champions League semifinal first leg against Barcelona, winning 3-1 at the San Siro, so Jose Mourinho knew he had a safe enough cushion to defend in the second leg. Defend is what Inter did, stifling Barcelona's vaunted attack on its way to a 3-2 aggregate series victory after a slim 1-0 defeat on Thursday.

Barcelona looked poised for the win when Inter midfielder Thiago Motta was issued a red card for a hand to the face of Sergi Busquets, but Inter's defense only grew more resolute, denying Barcelona the type of chances it has grown accustomed to. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique scored a beautiful goal late, but it wasn't enough to erase the two-goal deficit from the first leg.

The victory means Inter Milan will now take on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid on May 22.

LEONARDO TO LEAVE AC MILAN

AC Milan manager Leonardo will leave the club after one season in charge, club president Silvio Berlusconi revealed on Thursday.

The former Brazilian national team midfielder endured a tough season at Milan, with the club getting off to an awful start it never quite recovered from. Milan improved as the season went on, but ultimately fell short in its quest to challenge rival Inter Milan for the Serie A title.

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What do you think of these stories? Impressed with Torres' performance in a championship match? Still amazed at Inter's ability to shut down Barcelona? Think AC Milan is on the verge of a stretch of prolonged mediocrity?

Share your thoughts below.

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