Extra-time thriller sees Leon comeback take down Pachuca for Liga MX Clausura title
With the first repeat champion since Pumas in 2004, Club Leon overcame a first leg disadvantage to beat Pachuca 2-0 on the day and 4-3 on aggregate for the Liga MX Clausura title.
Heading into the second leg, Pachuca held a slight 3-2 lead over Leon thanks to a brace from Enner Valencia.
With tonight’s match playing at an end-to-end pace and just a half an hour left for Leon to get their saving grace, it was Mauro Boselli who picked up the opening goal of the match and the aggregate equalizer for Leon.
Because the final does not recognize the away goals rule, the match went into extra time. With tired legs looking like they would be headed for penalty kicks, Gustavo Matosas’s side never gave up. Juan “Nacho” Gonzalez scored with ten minutes to go in extra time, and it sent Club Leon to the Liga MX title.
The headed goal, eerily reminiscent of the one he scored in December’s Apertura final against Club America, gives Rafa Marquez his second title as Leon’s captain in less than a year with the club.
Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough also put in an impressive shift, weathering 23 shots from Pachuca, although only five were on target. The clean sheet, being down one coming into the match one-down, is a big accomplishment.
Many considered the eighth-seeded Leon dead in the water before the playoffs even began. They barely even qualified for the top half, making it through on goal differential over Chiapas and finishing 13 points behind top-seeded Cruz Azul. They took down that number-1 seed in the first round on away goals, and went on beat second-seeded Toluca as well before making the finals.