Cruz Azul & Toluca Begin Battle for CONCACAF Champions League Title
The final battle for the 2013/14 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League is all set and ready to commence. Toluca visits Mexico City to face Cruz Azul at the Azul Stadium on Tuesday April 15th at 8:00pm EST in the first leg of the championship series.
Mexican clubs have dominated the CCL and the two teams that have dominated Liga MX so far have also dominated the regional competition. Cruz Azul are the current league leaders in the Clausura 2014 season with 33 points after 15 of 17 regular season matches. Toluca meanwhile, are right on their heels in second place with 31 points in as many games.
Their good run of form in the league allowed both teams to send out alternate squads to their week 15 matches in order to have the strongest squad available for the CCL championship series. Cruz Azul was able to come back from two goals down and earn a 2-2 draw at home while Toluca was able to pick up a 2-1 win over the reigning Mexican league champions Leon.
The two sides have also dominated the CONCACAF Champions League from start to finish. Toluca finished the group stage as the number one seed and thus gets the privilege of hosting the return leg. Both Toluca and Cruz Azul finished the group stage of the competition with a perfect record of four wins in four matches. The difference between the "Red Devils" and "Blue Machine" was the goal difference; Toluca finished with a +11 difference while Cruz Azul finished with a +8.
Once in the knockout stages of the competition both sides have had their ups and downs. Cruz Azul has lost both first leg matches but managed to overturn them with strong home performances. Toluca came into both quarterfinals and semifinals with a bit of overconfidence. MLS' San Jose Earthquakes took them to the brink of elimination in the quarterfinals; the Mexican side ended up needing a penalty shootout to advance to the final four. In the semifinals, Costa Rica's Alajualense never really threatened Toluca and despite little to no effort from the Mexican club, it was enough for an aggregate 3-0 win.
This will be the eighth CONCACAF final for Cruz Azul and they'll be looking to be crowned for a sixth time. The last time the Mexico City giants came this far in the competition was in 2010 when they lost in the final to Pachuca; the year before in 2009 they had also reached the final and lost to Atlante. It was back in 1997 when the Azul squad won their most recent of their five CONCACAF championships.
Toluca will be participating in their third CONCACAF championship series. They have won their only two other participations in 1968 and 2003.
You can follow the match LIVE on Soccerly's LIVE beat.
The match will be broadcast in the USA on Fox Sports 2 (English) and Univision Deportes Network (Spanish).