Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CONCACAF: Cruz Azul strike first in Champions League final (+video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on April 22, 2010
Emmanuel Villa

Emmanuel Villa scored the first goal in Cruz Azul's 2-1 victory over Pachuca in the first leg of the final

In the first leg of the all-Mexican CONCACAF Champions League final on Wednesday night. Cruz Azul, who are record champions in this event under its previous guise, have a slender 2-1 advantage to take into the return leg at the home of their opponents Pachuca, who are looking for a third title in four years.

La Maquina, as Cruz Azul are widely known, took advantage of some dreadful defending twenty minutes into the game when striker Emmanuel Villa seized on the ball after Pachuca defender Gregorio Torres miscontrolled it just ten yards outside his own penalty area. Villa’s run into the box resulted in Pachuca keeper Miguel Calero coming out to try and narrow the angle but Villa took his goal with great aplomb to give the Blues the lead. The home side didn’t have to wait long to extend their lead when a cross from the right side by Maxi Biancucchi was turned into his own goal by Pachuca’s Carlos Rodríguez clipping the ball past his own keeper at the near post. Pachuca did come back into the game after a nightmare start having the better of the chances as the first half progressed but without success on the scoring front.

The second half continued in much the same vein for the away side as they took the game to Cruz Azul in the hope of reducing the arrears and getting a foothold back into the game. They were finally rewarded in the 69th minute after Raúl Martínez’s cross found its way into the path of Damián Álvarez who, from the corner of the six-yard box, struck his shot low to halve the deficit, the ball just clipping the near post on its way in. Cruz Azul were finding it increasingly difficult to get a grip of the game from midfield as Pachuca tried to force an equalizer to level the tie. Cruz Azul may have had the advantage on the score sheet but they were to be at a numerical disadvantage for the last ten minutes of the game when Julio Domínguez was sent off for a foul on José Francisco Torres. Strangely it was La Maquina who found their urgency and created the most chances from that point on with Emmanuel Villa and Horacio Cervantes hitting the woodwork in the final minutes of the match. In the end Pachuca had to be grateful for a 2-1 defeat which they will hope to overturn in the second leg which takes place on Wednesday, April 28th. Will Cruz Azul be celebrating a record enhancing sixth title? Or will Pachuca maintain their recent continental dominance following title wins in 2007 and 2008?

First Leg HIGHLIGHTS: Cruz Azul 2-1 Pachuca C.F.

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