Second-half surge pushes Pumas past W Connection

Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match between visiting Pumas and DirecTV W Connection on August 3, 2016, in Couva, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo: Caribbean Action Images) 

COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago -- Pumas returned from a four-year Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League absence in style with a 4-2 away victory over DirecTV W Connection to open play in Group A on Wednesday night.

Alfonso Nieto scored a goal and set up another in a busy second half for the visitor at Ato Boldon Stadium. Luis Quintana, Josecarlos Van Rankin and Omar Islas also had goals for the Liga MX outfit, which improved to 3W-1D-0L all-time in SCCL openers.

For W Connection, Hughton Hector scored his second career goal in the competition. Jamal Charles also struck late to build upon the four goals he scored in the 2016 CFU Club Championship, the Caribbean’s qualifying tournament for the SCCL.

Van Rankin gave UNAM the lead for good in the 57th minute with a ferocious 25-yard strike. After intercepting a W Connection pass on the right flank, he took a couple touches forward, before unleashed a right-footed rocket beyond goalkeeper Julani Archibald’s dive and inside the left post.

Pumas doubled their advantage 16 minutes later, when Jesus Gallardo got down the left and crossed to Nieto for an easy finish.

Charles pulled the hosts within a goal in the 84th minute, taking Dimitrie Apai’s through ball, splitting two central defenders and curling a low finish beyond Alfredo Saldivar and inside the right post.

The visitor sealed victory deep in stoppage time as Nieto got down the left and guided in a cross to set up Hernandez’s gentle finish.

Quintana gave Pumas a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute with a pair of precise touches. On the first, he won an aerial battle over W Connection’s Daneil Cyrus. On the second, he smashed home right-footed volley from close range.

W Connection tied it at 1-1 in the 44th minute after Isaiah Hudson enticed Jose Antonio Garcia into a foul 25 yards from goal. Hector lifted his right-footed strike over Pumas’ defensive wall before it sailed away from Saldivar’s dive and inside the left post.

Pumas moved to 2W-1D-0L in three all-time SCCL games against W Connection.