An Achille Emana hat-trick has fired Cruz Azul top of their CONCACAF Champions League group, as they dispatched Valencia 3-0 on Tuesday.
Cruz Azul ensured their Haitian opponents ended Group 4 without a point, as the home side coasted to a win at Estadio Azul in Ciudad de Mexico.
Emana struck first in the sixth minute and doubled his tally on 32 minutes, with both goals coming from Mariano Pavone assists.
The 31-year-old Cameroonian's first goal came via the outside of his right boot, as he poked home from an acute angle after Pavone played him through with a first-touch pass.
Pavone continued his first-class service to Emana, as he split Valencia's two central defenders with a through-ball, and the latter chipped Valencia goalkeeper Frandy Montrevil and saw his effort just go over the line for a goal, with defender Jean-Robert Jean a split-second too late with his clearance.
Argentine number nine Pavone's only downfall was a missed penalty on 44 minutes but it did not cost the Mexican club.
Emana completed his hat-trick when Valencia failed to adequately clear a corner kick in the 75th minute.
Valencia striker Andre Amy attempted to control the poorly taken corner with his chest but his heavy touch fell into the path of Emana on the edge of the area and the Cameroonian lashed home a right-foot shot into the top-left corner via the hand of Montrevil.
The victory leaves Cruz Azul's knockout-stages fate in their own hands, as they only need to avoid a heavy defeat away at Costa Rican club Herediano to advance.
The same cannot be said for the Montreal Impact, although the MLS outfit pushed hard in their 2-0 home win over Heredia in an effort to keep their hopes alive of progressing to the last-eight.
Daniele Paponi and Andrew Wenger scored the goals for Montreal.
The win took the Impact to six points from four games, level with Heredia but the Costa Ricans have a game in hand.
Should Heredia get at least a point from their group-stage finale against the San Jose Earthquakes, they would book their quarter-final place.
If the Earthquakes win, they would join Heredia and Montreal on six points and advance on their superior head-to-head record.
Honduran club Olimpia kept alive their hopes of progressing, with a 1-0 home win over Real Esteli.
Up against already eliminated opponents, the hosts needed to win to ensure they did not join their Nicaraguan counterparts on the Champions League scrap heap.
And on 67 minutes, Antony Lozano scored the goal that would keep the dream alive for Olimpia fans.
They must now beat Sporting Kansas City away at the MLS club, in order to make the final eight.
|20||A. Emaná||6' 32' 75'|
|Coach: G. Vázquez|
for J. Pereira 58'
for M. Fórmica 72'
for L. Perea 83'
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