Pachuca head coach Diego Alonso (pictured) leaves the field after a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League win over visiting Olimpia on August 2, 2016, in Pachuca, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
PACHUCA, Mexico – It was truly a battle of champions in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday, when host Pachuca and Olimpia – the current champions of Mexico and Honduras, respectively – squared off at the Estadio Hidalgo.
Pachuca improved to 10W-1D-0L all-time in SCCL home games with a 1-0 win as Mateus Gonçalves’ fifth minute goal was the difference in the Group E clash.
Though the final result may have been closer than he initially hoped, Pachuca head coach Diego Alonso hailed the squad’s effort as it kicked off pursuit of a fifth CONCACAF club crown.
“We won and that is what is most important,” said Alonso. “We got the three points and we generated chances. We lacked finishing, but I have nothing to criticize.
“Olimpia is an opponent of great standing. They are a big club in their country. We took this match with the importance it is owed and as a lesson.”
After four matches to open the 2016/17 campaign, the Tuzos are a perfect 4-0-0, conceding only a single goal. Alonso was pleased with the progress his team demonstrated from Saturday’s narrow 1-0 Liga MX Apertura win over Necaxa.
“[Tuesday’s] showing confirms to me that the team is working well,” the 41-year-old commented. “We improved including on the performance from the league match against Necaxa. I think we were very solid and with a lot of offensive power.”
The performance was made more impressive by the fact that five players are currently on Olympic duty with Mexico at Rio 2016. Others were more than willing to step up and a make an impact.
“There are a lot of boys who are taking advantage to the maximum the opportunities that are being given to them,” finished Alonso. “From that, as they continue playing, it will be simpler for them to adapt to the team when they have a greater participation in the league.”
Pachuca returns to domestic action on Sunday at Toluca.