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Chicago Fire, Alajuela Advance to Champions' Cup Semifinals With Victories in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (Tuesday, September 28, 1999) - With their respective victories this evening at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, defending MLS Cup champs Chicago Fire and Costa Rican club Alajuela both advanced to the semifinals of the 1999 CONCACAF Champions' Cup. The other two semifinals will be determined tomorrow evening when D.C. United faces Olimpia (Honduras) and Necaxa (Mexico) meets Saprissa (Costa Rica).

Ante Razov's glancing header in the 19th minute was enough to lead the Fire to a 2-0 win over Caribbean champion Joe Public of Trinidad & Tobago in the opening match of the evening. Joe Public goalkeeper Donovan Thomas was superb throughout the match, making eleven saves to keep his side in the match. However, even Thomas' bravery in goal could not prevent the more aggressive Fire from victory.

Fire rookie Dema Kovalenko iced the win for his team in the 86th minute, taking a pass from another substitute, Paul Dougherty, and slamming a shot into an open net from five yards.

In the second match of the evening, Alajuela shocked Mexican power Toluca, 1-0, with Josef Miso scoring the winner in the 58th minute.

The tournament semifinals will be played on Friday while the third place match and championship will be played on Sunday (Oct. 3). The winner of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup will advance to the FIFA World Club Championship in Brazil in January.

All eight matches of the 1999 Champions' Cup will be televised live in the U.S. on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports Espanol.