Saprissa, Pachuca battle to thrilling SCCL quarterfinal draw

Pachuca's Hirving Lozano (left) and Heiner Mora of Saprissa battle for the ball during their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, first-leg match on February 21, 2017, in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Mexsport)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Pachuca remained unbeaten in five all-time Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matches, playing host Saprissa to a 0-0 draw in the 2017 knockout-stage opener on Tuesday at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.

The sides will meet again on February 28 at the Estadio Hidalgo.

Pachuca -- shutout for the first-ever time in 25 SCCL outings -- thought it got on the scoreboard in the 34th minute, but Omar Gonzalez’s goal was disallowed for offside.

Saprissa’s best chance of a lively encounter came in the 20th minute, when Marvin Angulo's left-footed attempt from the top edge of the box was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco.

In the 32nd minute, Blanco failed to handle Daniel Colindres’ low shot from distance, but did well to gather it in before Saprissa could react.

The visitor nearly struck early in the second half, but Dany Carvajal saved Franco Jara’s effort.

A speculative shot from 25-yards by Colindres, with seven minutes remaining in normal time, forced Blanco into a scrambling save at the right post.

Saprissa moved to 13W-3D-3L at home in SCCL play, while Pachuca registered a fifth draw in its last nine road matches in the competition.