Arabe Unido's Edgar Yoel Barcenas (left) in Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League against host Monterrey on August 17, 2016, in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
MONTERREY, Mexico – Arabe Unido got its 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League campaign off to a dream start Wednesday, with a stunning 3-2 win over host and three-time champion Monterrey.
The names of Jose Gonzalez, Fidel Caesar and Edgar Yoel Barcenas – the scorers in the Group D victory – will live forever in the CONCACAF history books just as the performance will remain etched in the memories of the region’s footballing observers.
The result opens up the race for the group’s lone quarterfinal berth. Monterrey had previously secured three points from its 3-0 away victory against winless Don Bosco.
“Today, they have demonstrated that they are valiant…that they are capable of winning the battle…that through the work they had been doing coming in, they believed in the idea,” head coach Sergio Guzman said about his squad after the game. “We did a great a job against a great team such as Monterrey. We did double the work.”
It may have been the Expreso Azul’s first-ever win on Mexican soil, but it wasn’t its first triumph over a Mexican club in the competition. Nearly seven years to the day, the Panamanian power beat eventual-champion Pachuca, 4-1, at the Estadio Agustin Muquita Sanchez in La Chorrera.
“Everyone is pulling their weight. This wasn’t fortuitous,” finished Guzman. “The boys fought. They worked. They were aware of the effort they had to make and they did it all. We leave happy, happy for having beaten a great team.”
Next, Arabe Unido will visit Don Bosco, knowing that a win or a draw gives it sole possession of first place in Group D. The Expreso Azul, a two-time SCCL quarterfinalist, will travel to Haiti unbeaten in four of its last SCCL away matches.