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Sunday, 9 January, 2000, 10:26 GMT
Necaxa stay on track

Montecinos Paying the penalty: Cristian Montecinos (centre) misses his second

South Melbourne 1-3 Necaxa

Unfancied Mexican outfit Necaxa kept their World Club Championship campaign alive, as two penalties secured an impressive victory at the Maracana.

South Melbourne were overwhelmed for much of the game - but the Australian challengers caused some flutters in the Mexican ranks when they pulled back a shock goal on the stroke of half-time.

Match facts
19: Montecinos scores from the spot
29: Delgado makes it 2-0
45: Anastasiadis's goal throws South Melbourne a lifeline
79: Cabrera's penalty clinches the win
The result earns Necaxa a crunch final group match against Brazil's Vasco de Gama, with the winners guaranteed a place in the final.

Manchester United's defeat by Vasco in the same stadium earlier on Saturday had strengthened the position of the Central American side in Group B.

And even if Necaxa lose to Vasco on Tuesday, United will have to beat South Melbourne by a convincing scoreline to deny the Mexicans an appearance in the third-place play-off.

Flurry of chances

Necaxa were in complete control of proceedings virtually from the first whistle and could have scored more, particularly in the first half.

Cristian Montecinos - who scored in the 1-1 draw with United in the opening group game - put them ahead with a controversial penalty after 19 minutes.

The Chilean striker headed against the bar and when the rebound broke for Augustin Delgado, the referee ruled that his goalbound effort had been kept out by Con Blatsis' hand - even though TV replays suggested it had hit the defender's chest.

Montecinos made no mistake with a low penalty to the right of keeper Chris Jones.

Four minutes later Montecinos had a chance to double his tally with another penalty, after his burst into the area was halted by a tug on his shirt from Fausto De Amicis.

Double trouble

This time Montecinos chose the opposite corner - but his powerful spot-kick went the wrong side of the post.

Delagado Agustin Delgado (centre) in need of a rest
It mattered little as Necaxa went 2-0 up in the 29th minute, courtesy of a point-blank goal from Agustin Delgado following good work from Jose Milian on the left.

And there could have more for the Mexicans as they dominated a routine match that lacked all the tension of the game that preceded it in the famous stadium.

Milian hit the bar as he tried his luck from long range, but Necaxa were unable to add to their tally before the break.

And their misses proved costly in first-half injury time as Blatsis headed a free-kick towards the target and John Anastasiadis stooped to nod the ball past hapless Necaxa keeper Hugo Pineda.

Back on top

Necaxa overcame the hiccup of conceding a goal and resumed their domination of the game after the break.

But despite their pressure they were unable to add to the scoreline.

Delgado was denied what seemed a certain goal by a last-gasp tackle from Blatsis two yards out, while keeper Jones kept out a shot from substitute Edgar Oliva.

But with Necaxa struggling to score from open play, they were given another gilt-edged chance with their third penalty of the match, after Nick Orlic brought down the on-rushing Delgado.

Salvador Cabrera took the spot-kick honours in the absence of the substituted Montecinos - and he wrapped up victory with a fiercely-struck shot.


South Melbourne: Jones, Iosifidis, De Amicis, Orlic, Blatsis, Clarkson, Panopoulos, Coveny, Trimboli, Anastasiadis, Alagich.
Subs: Udvaracz, Roche, Curcija, Cuzzupe, Magnacca, Lozanovski, Goutzoulis, Tsekinis, Liparoti, Mustafa, Psonis, Culibrk.

Necaxa: Pineda, Cabrera, Almaguer, Aguinaga, Perez, Delgado, Lopez, Vigna, Milian, Montecinos, Higareda.
Subs: Alvarez, Guadarrama, Ambriz, Scotti, Acosta, Terres, Ochoa, Velazquez, Becerril, Hernandez, Vazquez, Oliva.

Referee: Falla Ndoye (Senegal

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See also:
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Man Utd's world title bid demolished
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Necaxa: Kings of a small hill
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