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By ESPN Staff

America, UNAM qualify, Guadalajara to play off

MEXICO CITY, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Mexico City pair America and UNAM qualified for the quarter-finals of the Mexican championship at the weekend, and Guadalajara, the country's most popular club, earned a place in the playoffs.

UNAM thrashed UANL 5-0 to finish top of Group Three with 29 points ahead of America, 2-1 winners over Morelia, on goal difference.

Argentine trio Ariel Gonzalez, Ariel Lopez and Ignacio Scocco shared three goals for the Pumas, while Mexicans Marco Antonio Palacios and Jose Luis Lopes scored the others.

UANL, the Tigers, were the only one of Mexico's major teams who failed to qualify.

America needed a 78th-minute winner from Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas to overcome Morelia.

The first two goals came in the opening 10 minutes as former Argentine forward Claudio Lopez put America in front and Colombian striker Luis Gabriel Rey replied almost immediately.

The 18 teams play each other once in the qualifying stage but are divided into three groups of six.

The top two teams in each group qualify directly for the quarter-finals and the four best of the remaining sides, regardless of group, play off for two more places.

Cruz Azul, who finished top of Group One, were the only team guaranteed a quarter-final place before the weekend.

The Blue Machine completed their campaign by beating Santos Laguna 1-0 with a goal by Argentine forward Cesar Delgado.

Atlas joined them when a 1-1 draw at Queretaro guaranteed them second spot in Group One. An 86th-minute equaliser from substitute Rafael Murguia gave Atlas a point after Argentine Mauro Gerk had put the White Roosters in front early in the second half.

Monterrey and defending champions Pachuca qualified from Group Two, Monterrey beating Toluca 2-1 while Pachuca were held 2-2 by Atlante.

Toluca (27 points), Guadalajara (26), Veracruz (26) and Chiapas (23) went into the playoffs.

Guadalajara, who formed the backbone of Mexico's World Cup squad and do not field foreign players, beat Chiapas 1-0 with a goal by defender Francisco Rodriguez four minutes before halftime.