Cruz Azul eliminates Tijuana, joins Toluca in CONCACAF Champions League finals
Overcoming the 1-0 deficit it took into Wednesday’s second leg, Cruz Azul has eliminated Club Tijuana from CONCACAF Champions League, with a Javier Guemez own goal combining with Julio Domínguez’s second half winner to move La Machina one step closer to the club’s record sixth confederation title. Showing Xolos out of the semifinals with a 2-0 (2-1, aggregate) win, Cruz Azul moves on to face Toluca, with the Diablos Rojos set to visit Estadio Azul next week to kick off the confederation final.
Luis Fernando Tena’s men left Estadio Caliente last week with a one-goal deficit after a late Cristian Pellerano penalty conversion gave Xolos a halftime lead. Tijuana gave that advantage back early on Wednesday when Guemez deflected a Gerardo Flores cross past goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo. Though the visitors were able to preserve that scoreline through half time, Domínguez’s goal five minutes into the sent Tijuana crashing out of the competition.
It’s the third time in six years La Machina will be CONCACAF’s final, with the Mexico City-based club now tied with Monterrey with the most finals spots since the tournament’s redesign in 2008. But whereas the Rayados have won each of their three appearances, Cruz Azul has lost twice, with defeats to Atlante (2009) and Pachuca (2010) leaving the team on five CONCACAF titles.
Should they break through against Toluca, it will be the first time in 17 years the team’s claimed the confederation’s crown. It will also move Cruz Azul ahead of Club América to sit alone with the most titles in CONCACAF history.
The Red Devils, on the other hand, are looking for the club’s third title, having last claimed CONCACAF’s title in 2003.