Ronny Delia

Goalie goal
Photo by Andrea Jimenez/Jam Media/Getty Images

CCL wrap: Stoppage-time GK goal saves Tigres; Henry’s Montreal grinds it out

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Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League nearly featured an upset for the ages.

It will have to be content with a finish for all time.

El Salvador’s Alianza came back from a 4-2 aggregate deficit to nearly knock UANL Tigres out of the CCL, but Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman provided a stoppage time goal to eliminate the upstarts.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Tigres will now meet Ronny Delia’s New York City FC, who had little trouble holding up its first-leg lead over San Carlos.

Thierry Henry’s Montreal had to sweat out a scoreless draw with Saprissa, but rode its two away goals to a date with either Seattle or Olimpia.

Guatemala’s Comunicaciones and Club America are the final match of Wednesday, kicking off at 10 a.m. ET.

UANL Tigres 4-2 (5-4 agg.) Alianza

What a match. Down 2-1 after one leg, Tigres scored thrice in the first 23 minutes. Ex-West Ham man Enner Valencia struck first before Andre-Pierre Gignac score in the 17th and 23rd.

But Juan Carlos Portillo scored twice in nine minutes before halftime to put the away goals advantage in the Salvadorans’ corner.

Tigres out-attempted Alianza 19-6 but couldn’t get it done, and my goodness did it need shot No. 19 from its Argentine international backstop.

Great header for a goalie.

Montreal Impact 0-0 (2-2 agg.) Deportivo Saprissa

This was a dreadful match, but it won’t bother Titi too much; Henry’s men had just 31 percent of the ball and nearly scored anyway through Shamit Shome.

The Impact showed a lot of guts and discipline in frustrating the Costa Ricans, who were disappointed when Clement Diop made an incredible save in the 89th minute.

NYCFC 1-0 (6-3 agg.) San Carlos

Alexander Callens scored the lone goal of the contest, the damage done in Costa Rica last week.

Speaking of damage done, Delia had a “Welcome to CONCACAF officiating” moment.

 

Celtic appoint new manager

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Celtic FC have announced the appointment of Ronny Deila as manager on a 12-month deal. He takes over from Neil Lennon, who left the club after leading them to their third Scottish Premier League title in his four years at the club.

Delia is an interesting choice for Celtic, as many believed they would look to former stars or others with connections to the historic club. Lennon himself had spent seven seasons with Celtic, as had Tony Mowbray before him.

Instead Celtic branched out, looking to Norway for their new coach. Delia, just 38 years old, was appointed head coach of Norwegian Premier League side Strømsgodset in January 2008, when he retired as a player. He lead Strømsgodset to the title last season, and the team is currently second in the division.

It may be the middle of the season in Norway, but the club had little option but to let Delia go. When he signed a new contract last winter, part of the agreement was that he could leave should a big club come calling.

Delia is, obviously, untested at the highest levels of soccer – and Celtic will be both defending a title and staging a Champions League campaign. Still, supporters would do well to give him a chance. Especially those that were tired of the dull game Celtic played under Lennon. Delia said:

I want to deliver the best attacking, exciting and entertaining football we can play, for the players to give their best every time they take to the field of and, of course, I want my players to work with me to achieve the best results possible and bring trophies to Celtic.

Exciting and entertaining, and trophies? Fans can but dream.