Alajuelense were supposed to get the best of Arabe Unido, but the result didn't show it in the first leg. And to make matters worse, they were at home.
Arabe Unido went to Costa Rica and came away with a scoreless draw, putting them in a position where any home win will see them through to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. The Panamanians are sitting pretty.
It wasn't as if Alajuelense were completely inept. In fact, they were the better side, out-shooting Arabe Unido 21-7 and earning seven corner kicks to the visitor's one. Had it not been for some near misses, shoddy finishing and excellent goalkeeper from Miguel Lloyd, Alajuelense would have surely won, but they all combined to keep them off of the scoreboard.
Jonathan McDonald had the first opportunity of the match and nearly scored after just seven minutes, but Lloyd made a terrific diving save to deny him. Lloyd didn't have to do much else, though, instead watching chance after chance miss the frame. Ariel Rodriguez saw a clear header go over the bar in the 69th minute, while Alvaro Sanchez's free kick also was too high and the most spectacular effort of the night -- a sharp angled bicycle kick -- whistled just wide of the post.
The lack of goals wasn't too much of a surprise with both teams doing an excellent job defensively in the group stage and that carried over to Monday. Now there are just 90 minutes left, in Panama, and the winner will go to the semifinals. Advantage, Arabe Unido.