A stoppage-time equalizer from CF Monterrey balanced out a star-showing from Columbus Crew SC midfield maestro Lucas Zelarayan as both sides played to a 2-2 draw in Leg 1 of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series on Wednesday night.
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Columbus was just over one minute away from a 2-1 win, only for Jose Alvarado to nod home a Dorlan Pabon cross in the 93rd minute. In the process, the Liga MX visitors grabbed a second away goal and the aggregate advantage going into next Wednesday's second leg at Estadio BBVA Bancomer.
Zelarayan thought he bagged a game-winner in the 87th minute, sweeping home a right-footed shot that right back Harrison Afful pulled back toward the penalty spot. The Argentine No. 10 made no mistake, putting his team in the driver’s seat.
WATCH | Zelarayan scores against former rival
Columbus also overcame an early hole in the 65th minute, with left-back Milton Valenzuela punching home at the back post. Zelarayan shimmied free along the endline, then crossed across goal for his compatriot to draw the hosts level at 1-1.
WATCH | Valenzuela scores first career Concacaf Champions League goal
Monterrey grabbed their first all-important road goal in the 9th minute after forcing a midfield turnover, with Ake Loba picking out the far corner for a 1-0 advantage.
Bradley Wright-Phillips appeared to give Columbus a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute, though Josh Williams was ruled offside in the buildup following a closer look from Video Review. Zelarayan swung in a looping free kick toward the back post, and the Crew center back snuck around before nodding back across goal for BWP to tap home – a moot move in the end.
Williams nearly found redemption in the 76th minute, only for his powerful header from a Zelarayan corner kick to rattle the crossbar.
The two sides meet on May 5 in Monterrey for Leg 2, as the Crew look to advance to their first-ever CCL semifinal.