Cruz Azul dominated a Toronto FC side that played well at times, but couldn’t overcome a great goal to lose 1-0. Cruz Azul had gotten a solid away win in the first leg by a 3-1 score against Toronto, and the victory laid heavily tonight as the early goal proved to be too big of a hurdle for the Canadian side to climb. Cruz Azul dominated and now has the ticket to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League where they await the winners of the series between Monterrey and the Columbus Crew.
The first half started with Cruz Azul coming with mostly their best squad except up top, where they went with Brayan Angulo and Walter Montoya. Toronto FC also came with a strong squad but without Jozy Altidore. A minute into the match, Montoya would get a great opportunity that forced Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono to make a save. After a couple of minutes of domination by Cruz Azul, Toronto came close to scoring when Nick de Leon got off a cross that found a wide open Alejandro Osorio, whose header was blocked on the line by Adrian Aldrete after Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jesus Corona failed to play well off of the cross, getting caught in no man’s land. Cruz Azul had a great chance when Octavio Rivero got a cross into the area that found Angulo, but he tried score with a volley from his left foot and just gave the ball to Bono, wasting a great chance. Angulo should have done well when Rivero got another cross into the area that could have been a tap in but he missed and the ball ended being cleared by Omar Gonzalez. Off the ensuing corner kick, Pablo Aguilar rose alone to get a header that forced Bono to make a great save. It looked like Toronto FC had scored with a goal by Nick de Leon, but he was correctly ruled to be offside. Angulo would have a great chance with a possible one-on-one but he took too long and Chris Mavinga was able to slide and take the ball from his feet. The ball went right into the path of Luis Romo, who shot straight to the hands of Bono. Toronto then responded with a shot from Ayo Akinola, but it was saved by Corona. Off of the corner kick, Gonzalez rose to head the ball and his header hit the top of the post. Although Cruz Azul had been the better team, Toronto was getting good opportunities. Then off a rebound off of a defender, Brayan Angulo took the ball from way way outside the area and sent a lobbing thunderous shot over the head off Bono for the 1-0 lead. Angulo had missed three easy and great opportunities, but he saved the best for a shot that nobody thought he would take and surprised everybody with his third goal against Toronto FC. Cruz Azul continued to dominate in the half and tried to get opportunities, although none were as close to goals as the one before Angulo’s goal. The halftime whistle blew and with a 1-0 lead, it looked like the series had been settled by Cruz Azul.
The second half started with Toronto FC subbing out Jonathan Osorio and Chris Mavinga for Tsubasa Endoh and Auro Jr. Immediately Cruz Azul got an opportunity when Walter Montoya got off a shot that was saved by Bono. Cruz Azul had a good chance when a cross from Rivero found Roberto Alvarado, but his shot went just wide. A minute later, Alvarado threatened again with another shot that went just wide. Cruz Azul made their first moves by subbing out Yoshimar Yotun and Roberto Alvarado for Jose Martinez and Pol Fernandez. After a couple of minutes where Cruz Azul controlled the possession, Romo got a ball in the area and got off a shot that forced Bono to make a save. Cruz Azul made two more moves by subbing out Walter Montoya and Brayan Angulo for Elias Hernandez and Jonathan Rodriguez. Toronto FC then subbed out Jacob Shaffelburg and Nick de Leon for Patrick Mullins and Noble Okello. Rodriguez then got his first opportunity with a shot from outside the area that just went wide. Cruz Azul made their final move by subbing out Adrian Aldrete for Julio Cesar Dominguez. Cruz Azul started to dominate even more as the altitude and the fact that Toronto had to score four goals to win the series really hurt the Canadian side, who looked deflated. Toronto made their last move by subbing out Ayo Akinola for Ralph Priso. Toronto came close when a cross by Auro Jr got deflected, and once again Corona did a terrible job coming out but Rivero was able to miraculously clear the ball from the line with a great kick. The rest of the game had Cruz Azul continue to dominate and easily claim their second win and the ticket to the semifinals.
Cruz Azul was overly superior not only tonight but in the whole series against Toronto FC. With the 3-1 lead after the first leg, Toronto had to score three goals in Estadio Azteca. Although they were offensive and even had some chances, they deflated as the match continued. Jonathan Osorio had to leave the game at halftime because of muscular problems and it really hurt Toronto, who never got back offensively in the second half. Cruz Azul now has their ticket to the semifinals, which will not be played until August meaning the team will now concentrate on winning the Liguilla, which because they finished in first place, they will skip the weekend repechaje matches. It seems they look set for an historic run in both Liga MX and CONCACAF.