Wednesday Kickoff: América knocked out of CCL; Pellegrini hits out at CSKA pitch; and more

Wednesday Kickoff: América knocked out of CCL; Pellegrini hits out at CSKA pitch; and more

South American Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: América knocked out of CCL; Pellegrini hits out at CSKA pitch; and more

JerryPalaciosAlajuelense1-ClubAmericaCCL (AFP)

By DAN KARELL

For the second time in two weeks, a Mexican side were defeated by one from Costa Rica.

In unceremonious fashion, Club America were stunningly knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League at home in a 1-0 defeat to Alajuelense. Despite playing at Estadio Azteca and having the best domestic league record, for the second consecutive game against their Costa Rican opponents, America couldn’t find the back of the net.

Played in the pouring rain on Tuesday night in Mexico City, Alajuelense waited until the 54th minute to score the lone goal of the game as Jerry Palacios headed home from eight yards out off a beautiful cross from left back Ariel Soto. El Tri hero Raul Jimenez came close to tying the score when he had an open net to shoot at but amazingly hit the post.

The result knocks Las Aguilas out of the competition as Alajuelense move on as winners of Group Four with nine points from four games. Elsewhere in CCL action on Tuesday evening, Cruz Azul defeated Costa Rican side Herediano, 2-1, on the road to win Group Three.

Here are some more stories to get your Wednesday started:

MAN CITY BOSS COMPLAINS ABOUT CSKA MOSCOW PITCH

Ahead of Manchester City’s third UEFA Champions League match this season, away to CSKA Moscow, manager Manuel Pellegrini has made his feelings known over the state of the playing surface Khimki Arena.

With the Luzhniki Stadium undergoing construction ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, CSKA has been playing their home matches at a couple of other Moscow venues including Khimki. However, the stadium was closed for a month due to the surface of the field being destroyed by CSKA and Dynamo Moscow playing during a period of heavy rain. UEFA have approved the field for use in the Champions League, but Pellegrini isn’t happy about it.

“I just saw the pitch. I think it’s unbelievable that the most important cup competition in the world is allowed to be played on this pitch,” Pellegrini told The Guardian. “We must pray on Wednesday that it’s not raining. If it’s raining, it will be impossible to play on this pitch. It could be called off. I didn’t believe it when I saw the pitch. For the two teams, and also for the people who will watch the game, this is the most important competition in the world and it deserves a better pitch. If it is not raining, it is not a risk for injury. It is a very good ground pitch, not a good grass pitch.”

QUICK KICKS

Ange Postecoglou has been officially appointed as the next head coach of the Australian National Team on a five-year contract. (REPORT)

Australian side Perth Glory have completed a coup by signing former France international defender William Gallas to a one-year contract. (REPORT)

Scotland international midfielder Darren Fletcher has returned to Manchester United training after a long bout with a bowel disease that has plagued him for the last few years. (REPORT)

AS Roma winger Gervinho is set for a ten-day spell on the sidelines with a hamstring muscle injury. (REPORT)

Colombian side Independiente Santa Fe played a match against Boyaca Chico in knock-off shirts they bought from a street vendor after they had forgotten to bring their own away kits to the match. (REPORT)

Brazilian club Sport Recife has seen 57,000 supporters sign up to be organ donors under the program “Immortal Fans”. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Did you expect America to make it to the knockout stages? Do you see Man City playing this evening? What do you think of Postecoglou’s appointment to the Socceroos coaching position?

Share your thoughts below.

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