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CONCACAF Champions League Preview: Toluca v Cruz Azul

21 April 2014 04:55

Toluca are in the box seat to be crowned winners of the CONCACAF Champions League ahead of this week's second leg.

Jose Cardozo's Toluca came away from their trip to Mexican rivals Cruz Azul with honours even after playing out a goalless draw at the Estadio Azul.

Though both teams failed to find the back of the net, the result suited Toluca with away goals the determining factors if the second leg ends all-square at the end of normal time.

The 10-time Liga MX champions are now well placed to win their first annual North American continental club competition since 2003, when they edged fellow Mexicans Monarcas 5-4 on aggregate.

Cardozo played in that triumphant team and the 43-year-old is quietly confident ahead of the return leg at Estadio Nemesio Diez on Wednesday.

"In the 90 minutes that remain, we have to be very intelligent to try to keep on as champions," said Cardozo.

"Playing at home we will put forth from the outset."

Toluca's most recent clash at home to Cruz Azul resulted in a resounding 3-0 win in November last year.

However, Cruz Azul had won four consecutive matches at Toluca prior to that defeat, which has coach Luis Fernando Tena relatively confident.

"We are going with all of the determination to win the final," Tena said.

"We have the personality and the unity and we are a team with goalscoring capability."

One thing that can be for certain on Wednesday is the fitness of both sets of players.

Toluca and Cruz Azul opted to field weakened line-ups in the Liga MX with eyes on the Champions League final return leg.

Rotation did not work well for either team, with Toluca suffering a 1-0 defeat to Atlas and missing the chance to go top after Cruz Azul were on the receiving end of a 5-1 drubbing at Morelia.

Toluca will take heart from the fact that they have not lost at home in all competitions since October last year, when they coincidently lost 2-1 to Cruz Azul in the league.

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Info

1 - 1

Competition
CONCACAF Champions League
Date
24 April 2014
Kick-off
02:00
Half-time
0 - 1
Full-time
1 - 1
On aggregate
1 - 1

Goals

0 - 1
41' M. Pavone
 (assist by M. Fabián)
E. Benítez 63'
(assist by Wilson Tiago) 
1 - 1

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
29
23 63'
2
14
19
21
22
# Player Bookings
10
14 72'
53
7
12
18
70

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