Leon made it look easy as they started their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a 2-0 away win over Deportivo Guastatoya. Leon completely dominated the match from the start, and should probably have won by a larger margin over a Guatemalan side that failed to show the normal boost Central American sides have when playing at home. Leon will be heavily favored to get the win at home next week and book their ticket to the Quarterfinals.
The first half started with Leon treating this match seriously and going out with their best starting 11 to face Deportivo Guastatoya. The Guatemalan side also went with their best including two Mexican players: Omar Dominguez and ex Mexican International Luis Angel Landin. It took five minutes for Guastatoya to make the first substitution, as Jairo Arreola had to leave the match because of injury with Christian Reyes taking his place. Leon controlled the possession, but weren’t able to create much. Finally Luis Montes made a great long ball pass that Omar Fernandez was able to get in the area, get past his defender, and get off a right footed shot past Guastatoya’s goalkeeper Adrian de Lemos for the 1-0 lead. After the goal, Leon continued to have more possession as they looked to be better physically than the local side. Then after another great long ball into the area, Elias Hernandez made a great play in lowering the ball perfectly and then lobbing the ball over de Lemos and into the net for the 2-0 lead. Leon then continued to dominate possession even more, as the Guastatoya players couldn’t even get a touch on the ball. Still they wouldn’t create many chances, although their two goal cushion also meant that the team wasn’t overly looking for it.
The second half started with Leon subbing out Osvaldo Rodriguez, Jean Meneses, and Santiago Colombatto for Gil Buron, Santiago Ormeño, and Fidel Ambriz. Guastatoya meanwhile subbed out Jose Marquez for Carlos Alvarado. Leon had a great opportunity when Fernandez got into the area, but his shot went so wide that a defender was able to clear it. Leon continued to dominate the possession and push Guastatoya to defend itself. Leon subbed out Victor Davila for Federico Martinez. Even though Guastatoya was down two goals, they couldn’t keep the ball long enough to mount any attacks. It looked like Leon was the side that was trailing, as they kept having all of the attacks and playing the ball in Guastatoya’s side of the field. Guastatoya had a good opportunity when a wide open attacker got a free header in the area, but it went right to the arms of Leon’s goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota. Guastatoya then subbed out Dilan Palencia for Nicolas Martinez. Leon meanwhile subbed out Stiven Barreiro for Pedro Hernandez. Leon came close to scoring on a cross into the area, but it was just out of reach for Ormeño. Guastatoya answered with a shot from outside the area from Marco Rivas that went just wide. Leon missed an incredible opportunity when a pass from Ormeño found Hernandez alone in the area, but he took too long and his shot was blocked by de Lemos. Guastatoya subbed out Marco Rivas and Uzias Hernandez for Nestor Jucup and Denilson Sanchez. They then had their best chance when after a three-on-three play, Landin got into the area before Cota came out and took the ball off of his feet. It was the last opportunity as the match ended and Leon easily got their win.
The Round of 16 series couldn’t have started better for Leon. The team has struggled in getting results in international competition, and went in with back-to-back eliminations in the Round of 16 in the CONCACAF Champions League. In 2020 they went out against LAFC in the Round of 16, and last year they did the same by losing their series against MLS side Toronto FC in the Round of 16, ending up being the only Liga MX team to lose out against a non-Mexican team in the competition. It looks like the streak is set to end after this home win against a Guastatoya side that looked out of their element even while being at home. Guastatoya barely had any dangerous chances and it looked like at times like Leon pushed off the pedal with the 2-0 lead. Even though they may have let up a little, they still dominated possession. Next week Guastatoya travels to Leon where the Mexican side will be heavily favored to make the Quarterfinals with a victory.