Pachuca's Franco Jara (#29) celebrates after scoring against visiting FC Dallas in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, second leg on April 4, 2017, in Pachuca, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
PACHUCA, Mexico – For forward Franco Jara, there was perhaps no bigger key to Pachuca’s advancement to the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final than that of the 27,512 fans in attendance at Tuesday’s 3-1 win over visiting FC Dallas.
The performance – at a pulsating Estadio Hidalgo -- overturned a 2-1 road loss in the first leg of the semifinal series, paving the way for a 4-3 aggregate triumph.
From start to finish, the supporters were at their boisterous best in urging on the Tuzos to a result that earned them an opportunity for a fifth CONCACAF-club crown.
“I think that the fans were another player, we played with 12 players,” Jara said after the match. “I am totally thankful, not only on my behalf, but for the whole team and coaching staff. What the fans do to encourage us gives us strength so we can give them joy.”
In victory, the 28-year-old Argentinean added to his impressive SCCL resume by notching his fifth goal of the competition to give Pachuca a 1-0 lead. He also netted in the first meeting on March 15.
It will be Jara’s second final with the Tuzos, accompanying the 2016 Liga MX Clausura triumph over Monterrey (agg: 2-1). He hopes that international success will serve as a catalyst for a strong finish in the final five weeks of the 2017 Clausura.
“I have been at Pachuca for little time, but this is my second final and I am happy about that,” finished Jara, who joined the club in September 2015 on a free transfer from Greece’s Olympiacos. “We will see what happens, but what’s most important is that this team has managed to be in another final, which is an objective.
“Now, thinking about the league, we have a match against Santos that is very important to win.”
Pachuca is unbeaten in 14 all-time SCCL home matches with a 13W-1D-0L record.