Wednesday Kickoff: Monterrey takes CCL edge, PSG identifies targets and more

Suazo (Reuters Pictures)

CONCACAF's defending champion opened the Champions League knockout stage in style.

Monterrey cruised to a 3-1 victory at Morelia Tuesday night behind two goals from Humberto Suazo to take a commanding edge into next week's quarterfinal return leg.

Suazo opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 28th minute and supplied a classy finish on a one-timer in the area just before halftime after a blazing run down the sideline by Cesar Delgado to put Rayados in control. The hosts pulled a goal back through Joel Huiqui in the 60th minute, who headed Edgar Lugo's long cross in while leaping over a defender.

Monterrey got the dagger and a third away goal in second-half stoppage time, as Abraham Carreno touched home a rebound of his own shot, which had richocheted off the post. Monterrey returns home for next Tuesday's second leg. The winner of the tie will meet either Pumas UNAM or Isidro Metapan in the semifinals.

Highlights from the match and more stories from around the soccer world are after the jump:

PSG EYES SUAREZ, HIGUAIN

Paris-St. Germain's owner has been vocal about their wish to become a world power and has not been shy when it comes to doling out the big bucks for world-class talent.

That trend figures to continue when the summer transfer window opens, as owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi has identified Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain as two of the club's prime targets.

Al-Khelaifi said that the exorbitant amoung of spending will go on for the next five or six years as he tries to build PSG into one of the world's premiere clubs.

CHELSEA ADVANCES IN FA CUP

The post-Andre Villas-Boas era got off to a bright start for Chelsea, who defeated Birmingham 2-0 in their FA Cup replay to advance to the quarterfinals and a date with Leicester City.

Juan Mata and Raul Meireles scored in a six-minute span in the second half to account for the scoring, though Mata also had a penalty kick saved by Birmingham keeper Colin Doyle.

Roberto di Matteo, in his debut as manager, raised some eyebrows by keeping veterans Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba on the bench, but his formula worked as Chelsea won for just the second time in their last eight matches across all competitions.

Jonathan Spector started and went the distance for Birmingham, while U.S. Under-20 defender Will Packwood made the bench with the club's first team for the first time in his career. He did not play.

SALCIDO MAKES FULL MOVE TO TIGRES

Mexican left back Carlos Salcido sealed a permanent move from Fulham to Tigres UANL after being on loan there for the duration of the season.

After playing a sizeable role for Fulham last season, Salcido reportedly asked to be loaned to Mexico for family reasons, and Fulham complied by loaning him to Tigres. He'll remain in Mexico for the foreseeable future after seven years in Europe — five with PSV Eindhoven and two with Fulham. 

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Think Monterrey is a serious threat to repeat as CCL champion? Can you see Suarez and Higuain leading PSG to glory? What do you think Chelsea's chances are in the FA Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

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5 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Monterrey takes CCL edge, PSG identifies targets and more

  1. Hood Rich says:

    Seems that was the nail in the coffin for Johnny B’s career in Mexico. Not good enough to play left back, and lost his spot as left sided defensive midfielder to Salcido since he arrived on loan.

  2. Shounen Bat says:

    I remember hearing some Dempsey to PSG rumors last summer (not sure how valid they were), but it made me wonder if he would even start there. I think Jeremy Menez plays in his position and, as awesome as Dempsey is, I don’t think he would autmotically slot in there, relegating Menez to the bench. Unfortunately, I think they’re the only CL team that would be willing to spend the 18M price tag…

  3. bryan says:

    yeah, i would have to agree that PSG seems like the most likely spot for Dempsey to end up at.

  4. Sam says:

    Suazo is one of the most clinical finishers in the world….It will be tough for any US team to beat Monterrey

  5. Syd says:

    Chupete is ridiculous. Awesome player.