Renteria's pair leads Crew past Joe Public
Emilio Renteria scored twice in the second half and an undermanned Columbus Crew defeated Joe Public 4-1 Thursday to complete the CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage.
Columbus, which had been assured of finishing second in Group B, ended with 12 points -- one behind Santos, while already eliminated Joe Public completed its tournament with a fourth consecutive loss and one point.
It is the second straight year Columbus has reached the quarterfinals and the first time since the Champions League started that more than one team from Major League Soccer has advanced past the Group Stage, with the Crew joining Real Salt Lake.
The result ended a six-game winless streak in all competitions for Columbus, was its first win in seven away matches and was only its second victory in seven Champions League matches away from home.
Columbus will learn its quarterfinal fate on November 1 at the Championship Round draw at CONCACAF headquarters in New York.
Renteria, who replaced Andres Mendoza to start the second half, converted after Joe Public defender Keion Goodridge was called for a handball on Joshua Williams' header at the left post. It was Renteria's first Champions League goal, and was some consolation for having a goal disallowed against Santos for wearing a shirt without a number in a 1-0 loss in Mexico on August 24.
He added an insurance tally in the 81st, running in from the top of the offensive third, outsprinting Kareem Moses into the top of the area and beating Joe Public keeper Glenroy Samuel high.
Renteria helped tack on the finale in the second minute of injury time, collecting a ball wide right near midfield and dribbling a few touches before sending a low roller into the Dilly Duka in the middle of the field. Duka had a backheel touch to forward it to Duncan Oughton, who took a touch before unleashing a right-footed blast that Samuel was only able to deflect but not stop.Mendoza gave Columbus the lead in the 20th minute. Jason Garey worked free on the right side and curled a cross to a completely unmarked Mendoza standing a meter outside the six, easily heading past Samuel.
Joe Public equalized seven minutes later on a penalty by Trent Noel. Stanley Lancaster whistled Williams for what Columbus argued was an innocuous shoulder challenge on Andre Toussant, and confusion ensued when it appeared the Guyana referee waved off the penalty for offside.
Columbus tried to restart play during a two-minute delay before Lancaster again pointed to the spot, where Noel converted.
Joe Public, which will play defending champion Defence Force on Saturday in the Trinidad league First Citizens Cup final, used nearly a full-strength lineup albeit without Nigel Daniel and Carlyle Mitchell due to accumulated yellow-card suspensions.
Columbus employed a second-choice starting 11, including five players who have played three games or fewer this year in Major League Soccer this season.
The Crew had the better of possession and chances in the first half, including opportunities by Adam Moffat, Mendoza and Oughton.
Both sides had additional chances in the second half, including Joe Public's best less than two minutes' after Renteria's go-ahead goal. Hayden Tinto broke free down the right side and reached the top of the area unmarked before hitting a right-footed effort that Columbus keeper Andy Gruenebaum went low to cover.