Cruz Azul’s quest for a record sixth CONCACAF title suffered a small setback on Tuesday, but with the Champions League final between La Maquina and fellow Mexican league side Toluca tied 0-0 after 90 minutes in Mexico City, the Liga MX leaders are only slightly worse off than they are three hours ago. Still, having lost their chance to take advantage of their home field, the Cementeros are left hoping the Estadio Nemesio Díez proves as kind to them as Estadio Azul was to the Red Devils.
The night would have been worse to Luis Fernando Tena’s men had Pablo Velazquez converted on close range chance near the hour mark, but goalkeeper Guillermo Allison, starting in place of the suspended Jesus Corona, managed to keep the Paraguayan off the scoresheet. Late in the half, a long distance shot from Antonio Rios nearly gave the Diablos Rojos a shock winner, with the woodwork called into action to keep Cruz Azul even.
Through much of the game, however, Mexican international Marco Fabián looked intent capitalizing on Cruz Azul’s home field edge, with his 36th minute shot into Alfredo Talavera’s goal briefly allowing the crowd to erupt. With the first assistant’s flag raised, however, Fabián’s goal never reached the scoresheet, with the offside call leaving the teams deadlocked.
In second half stoppage, final tries from Fabián and Christian Gimenez ran Talavera’s save total to eight, one more than Allison accumulated in the opposite goal. Despite the teams combining for 30 shots (18 for Cruz Azul), the game ended as it start, even if each team faces new questions after the tie’s first 90 minutes.
For Toluca, the team’s left hoping home field will prove more kind than it did for Cruz Azul, with chances for Velazquez and, in the first half, Wilson Tiago showing they’re capable of generating chances against one of the Clausura’s best defenses. For Cruz Azul, the task will be converting quantity into quality,with one goal potentially the difference between renewed glory and another close call.