Leon booked their ticket to the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League after getting a 1-0 win over Deportivo Guastatoya. This added to their 2-0 win in the 1st leg in Guatemala to give Leon the 3-0 aggregate win in the series. Leon will now wait for the winners of the Seattle Sounders vs Motagua series in the QF as they set their eyes back on the Liga MX.
The 1st half started with Leon coming out with some regular starters but with a two goal lead. The majority were players who normally don’t start. The goal advantage had Leon starting slow but they had a good chance when Federico Martinez got a shot in the area, but it was stopped by a diving slide from a Guastatoya defender. Then, off a long ball into the area, Elias Hernandez got the ball and sent a right footed shot past Guastatoya’s goalkeeper Adrian de Lemos for the 1-0. Guastatoya now needed to score 3 unanswered goals to get through while the goal eliminated the possibility of extra time or a penalty shootout. Martinez had a great opportunity when he got to the area but his shot was once again blocked off his feet by a Guastatoya defender. A cross from Omar Fernandez was volleyed by Gil Buron but Lemos was able to make a close range save. Leon kept pressuring and Lemos had to go out twice and clear crosses into the area with saves. Leon’s goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota almost gifted Guastatoya a great chance after failing to control a cross but Luis Angel Landin couldn’t connect well with it and it went well wide. The halftime whistle blew and the 1-0 lead Leon took didn’t reflect their dominance in the 1st half.
The 2nd half started with both teams coming out with the same lineup with which they started the match. Off a corner kick, Guastatoya came as close as they had in the series to scoring when Ruben Morales got a wide open header and it went just inches wide. Leon would sub out Santiago Colombatto (who had an awful match) and Elias Hernandez for Luis Montes and Victor Davila, respectively. After a hard foul on Davila, the match started to get chippy with a couple of mini scuffles. Leon would sub out Federico Martinez and Omar Fernandez for Jean Meneses and Jose Ramirez as Leon hoped to get more offensive in a 2nd half where they hadn’t played well. Leon would have a chance when the ball fell in the area but Gary Kagelmacher would fail to get to the ball and instead kick goalkeeper Lemos. Guastatoya would sub out Marco Rivas and Jose Marquez for Fredy Orellana and Nicolas Martinez. They came close when a cross into the area was headed and Cota cleared the ball inches before Landin would have gotten to it with an empty net chance. After an injury, Jorge Vargas had to be subbed out for Matias Galvaliz. Leon would sub out Gil Buron for Andres Mosquera. Guastatoya would make their last move by subbing out Nestor Jucup for Carlos Alvarado. Ramirez would get to the area and get off a right footed shot that Lemos would save. After stealing a ball, Davila would get a good chance but his left footed shot went just wide. A foul by Kagelmacher earned him a Yellow card and started a scuffle between the teams. It would be the last notable action of the match and it ended in the 1 goal win.
Leon got another “easy” win although they didn’t dominate as before, especially in the 2nd half. It seemed Leon’s dominance and the fact that the series looked to be set since the result in Guatemala, definitely had an impact. Also, a lot of bench players that got the opportunity to start, didn’t take advantage of it. The most notable case is Santiago Ormeño who has yet to score a goal in Liga MX after joining Leon (although he did score in the Supercopa and League’s Cup with the team) and who clearly wanted to score but had a very poor match. Guastatoya went on defensive mode, especially after halftime and with a Leon team that dropped their level of intensity after that point. It just translated to a very poor 2nd half. Leon will now travel to Aguascalientes for a Friday match against Necaxa before returning home for a midweek match on Tuesday against Monterrey while they await a tougher hurdle in the Quarterfinals of the CCL against either Seattle Sounders or Motagua.