Leon opened their participation in the CONCACAF Champions League with a 1-0 victory away against Tauro FC. It was far from a great performance, but Leon were able to get the result with a mixed A/B squad and are now primed to go through to the quarterfinals when they face the second leg at home with the away goal advantage.
Leon came out with a squad mixed with starters and some substitutes from their regular league lineups. While Tauro had more of the possession, Leon looked more dangerous, but neither team created clear chances in what was a very even game and not in the good way. A cross into the area was headed by Brian Rubio, whose header hit the post in the best chance of the game for either team. There were a couple of fouls with the Panamanian players being especially physical. Miguel Camargo had a great opportunity after making a move in the area before taking a terrible shot that went well wide. A pass into the area found Carlos Alberto Hernandez, who then took out Leon’s goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota, but his cross was cleared by Leon’s defense. Tauro missed a great chance when a cross into the area was headed wide by Breidy Goluz from close range. Leon would also miss a close header themselves. A cross into the area found Rubio, but his shot was saved by Tauro’s goalkeeper, Eric Hughes. The halftime whistle blew and Leon had disappointed in only having the game tied.
Both teams stayed the same for the start of the second half. Camargo would have two opportunities early on, but his shots went wide. Another chance fell to Tauro with Goluz getting into the area, but his shot went wide as he was brought down. Finally, Yairo Moreno made a cross into the area that Francisco Vence tried to clear but instead, left the ball in the area for Ivan Moreno, who shot got past Hughes for the goal as Leon took the 1-0 lead. They almost gifted Tauro the same goal back when trying to clear the ball from the area, they bounced the ball off Goluz, but it was cleared by Leon’s defense. Toward the end, a cross into the area was headed by Jan Vargas but easily saved by Cota. That would be the home side’s last chance as the match ended and Leon got a key victory in a match that left a lot to be desired.
It was far from a great performance, but Leon got a solid victory without their best squad in Panama City. They were the favored squad and now basically have one foot in the QF as Tauro will have to grab an away win in Leon, and although they threatened at times, Leon looked to be the better team and could have finished off the series had they showed more intensity. Leon get the first win for Liga MX teams in the tournament after Tuesday’s disappointing tie at home between Tigres and Orlando City. Leon will be heavily favored on Thursday as they look to book their ticket to the QF to face the winner of the Violette FC/Austin FC series.