SCCL: Emphatic quarterfinal comebacks
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Action from the memorable Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, second-leg match between host Santos and the Montreal Impact (white jersey) on March 5, 2009, in Torreon, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)

MIAMI – On Wednesday, Arabe Unido will attempt to become the first team in Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League history to rally from a four-goal, first-leg deficit in the quarterfinals and secure a final-four place, when it hosts FC Dallas in Panama City.

In fact, only on two occasions has a two-goal shortfall been overturned, both by Mexican clubs – Santos (2008/09) and Pumas (2009/10).

Three quarterfinal, first-leg reversals stand out more than the others.  CONCACAF.com takes a look at the trio of emphatic responses.

2008/09

First Leg (February 25, 2009: Stade Olympique -- Montreal, Canada)

Montreal Impact 2, Santos 0

Eduardo Sebrango 5’, 77’

Second Leg (March 5, 2009: Estadio Corona – Torreon, Mexico)

Santos 5, Montreal Impact 2

Christian Benitez 16’; Matias Vuoso 54’, 74’; Carlos Darwin Quintero 90’+3, 90’+4 / Roberto Brown 24’; Eduardo Sebrango 38’

In arguably the greatest two-match series in Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League history, Santos roared back from a two-goal deficit after the first leg and a three-goal aggregate gap during the second leg for a stunning 5-4 total goals triumph over the Montreal Impact.

With 52 minutes left in the series, Montreal was ahead 4-1 on aggregate, when Santos turned up the heat in serious fashion.  Matias Vuoso struck in the 54th and 74th minutes to make it 4-3.  In the third minute of stoppage time, Carlos Darwin Quintero leveled the global score at 4-4, but Montreal was still in charge on the away-goals rule.

Then, a minute later, Quintero somehow broke free in the middle of the Impact’s box and netted from eight-yards out to complete a historic rally.

2009/10

First Leg (March 10, 2010: Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano -- San Pedro Sula, Honduras)

Marathon 2, Pumas 0

Walter Martinez 18’ pen; Carlos Will Mejia 53’ pen

Second Leg (March 18, 2010: Estadio Olimpico Universitario – Mexico City, Mexico)

Pumas 6, Marathon 1

Pablo Barrera 8’; Ismael Iñiguez 21’, 35’; Martin Bravo 50’; Juan Francisco Palencia 62’, 90’ / own-goal, Jehu Chiapas 52’

A pair of converted penalties by Walter Martinez and Carlos Will Mejia helped Marathon upset visiting Pumas, 2-0, in the first leg.

Any dreams the Honduran side entertained of advancing to the semifinals, however, were erased in a second leg that saw Pumas move ahead on the aggregate score, 3-2, just 35 minutes after the opening whistle.

After Pablo Barrera’s opener, Ismael Iñiguez struck for two straight goals.  The second-half was more of the same, with current Juan Francisco Palencia – the current Pumas manager – netting the final two goals to put an exclamation point on a powerful performance.

2011/12

First Leg (March 8, 2012: Estadio Jorge “Calero” Suarez – Metapan, El Salvador)

Isidro Metapan 2, Pumas 1

Mark Lester Blanco 27’, 49’ / Eduardo Herrera 67’

Second Leg (March 15, 2012: Estadio Olimpico Universitario – Mexico City, Mexico)

Pumas 8, Isidro Metapan 0

own-goal, Alex Escobar 25'; Eduardo Herrera 26', 63’; Efrain Velarde 39'; Martin Bravo 54'; Jose Antonio Garcia 69'; Fernando Espinosa 73'; Juan Carlos Cacho 88'

Isidro Metapan got a sleeping giant’s attention by earning a 2-1 win in the first leg over visiting Pumas.  Mark Lester Blanco gave the Jaguares a 2-0 lead before 50 minutes had passed, netting on both sides of the interval.  Eduardo Herrera struck for an away goal midway through the second half, but it wouldn’t prove to be needed.

The second leg was all UNAM as it posted the largest quarterfinal win in SCCL history, 8-0, to capture the series, 9-2 on aggregate.  An own-goal in 25th minute leveled the global score, paving the way for a scintillating Pumas performance.  Herrera scored what proved to be the series clincher in the 26th minute, but the host would go on to hit the back of the net five more times in a truly emphatic triumph.