Pumas' Eduardo Herrera (pictured) celebrates after scoring one of his two goals in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League win over visiting DirecTV W Connection on October 20, 2016, in Mexico City. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- Pumas (3W-0D-1L, 9 points) qualified for the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals for the fourth time in as many tries, recording an 8-1 Group A victory over DirecTV W Connection (0-1-3. 1) on Thursday night at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario.
Eduardo Herrera, Jesus Gallardo and Fidel Martinez notched two goals apiece, while Saul Berjon and Alfonso Nieto added one each in a winning effort.
Briel Thomas tallied for the Trinidadian visitor, which had never conceded more than four goals in 23 previous SCCL outings.
Nearly the entire first half was played in the W Connection end as the host stormed to a 3-0 halftime advantage.
Berjon started things off by heading in a Pablo Barrera right-wing cross past goalkeeper Julani Archibald in the 17th minute.
Herrera then took center stage by striking twice within a 10-minute span. His diving header off Gallardo's left-wing cross doubled the lead in the 30th minute. In what probably was the most impressive goal of the night, Barrera backheeled a pass to Herrera, who turned and fired from the penalty spot for a three-goal lead in the 40th minute.
It was more of the same in the second half. Gallardo tallied his first goal in the 55th minute, converting Martinez's feed into the lower right corner before Thomas pulled one back for W Connection in the 60th minute off Andre Toussaint's backpass past goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar.
Gallardo put in a rebound off the left post for a 5-1 advantage in the 71st minute. Second-half substitute Alfonso Nieto made it 6-1, converting a curling effort from the upper right corner of the penalty area into the far post before Martinez closed out the scoring with goals in the 85th and 89th minutes.
Despite allowing eight goals, Archibald was outstanding. He made 10 saves, including denying Herrera's bid for a hat-trick on a penalty kick in the 64th minute.
Pumas became the eighth and final team to reach quarterfinals, joining fellow Mexican clubs Pachuca and Tigres, the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas (both United States), Vancouver Whitecaps (Canada), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and Arabe Unido (Panama).