Never before had a Mexican team not qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals or been knocked out of the tournament by a team from another country. On Thursday night, Xelaju changed that.
The small Guatemalan team lost to Chivas Guadalajara 2-1 at Estadio Omnilfe, which tied the two teams atop Group 8 on eight points, but Allan Aleman's 79th minute goal was enough to give Xelaju the edge in away goals and send them to the knockout stages. Xelaju joins Herediano as the only non-Mexican or American teams in the quarterfinals, where they will play two-time defending champions Monterrey.
Chivas played well from the get-go and almost scored twice in the early going through Marco Fabian. On both occasions, though, Fernando Patterson was there to turn him away.
After the match hit a lull, Chivas grabbed control again and just before the halftime break they went in front. Carlos Fierro's cross found Jesus Sanchez, who showed calm in front of goal in bringing the ball down and gathering himself before firing past Patterson.
Chivas doubled their lead in the 65th minute thanks to a clever interchange between Luis Morales and Fabian. The two put the Xelaju defense on its heels before Morales beat his man and then laced a shot at the near post to make it a 2-0 game.
Had Chivas been able to win 2-0 they would have gone through to the quarterfinals, but Aleman ensured that the Cinderella run of Xelaju would continue. He scored a fantastic diving header 11 minutes from time to provide Xelaju with passage to the knockout stages, becoming just the second Guatemalan team to ever advance to the quarterfinals.