León may have under-performed in the regular season, in part due to their Copa Libertadores commitments, but when it has counted they have shown their strength and yesterday afternoon, they once again defeated Toluca by a single goal to preserve their hopes of claiming back-to-back league titles. This would be the first time that a side has managed this since Pumas in 2004 and despite their poor form prior to the liguilla few would bet against Los Esmeraldas now.
Toluca were missing Isaac Brizuela and Pablo Velázquez from their starting lineup as they were chasing the one goal lead that their visitors had gained from the First Leg. This perhaps robbed them of their most dangerous attacking threats and they were unable to break down a resolute León defence.
As the game flowed back and forth it was decided when Carlos Peña superbly lofted the ball over the head of Alfredo Talavera to make it 2-0 on aggregate. It was a timely reminder from Gullit, who has been criticized since the dip in his form after the Apertura triumph, of just what he can offer both León and México.
Toluca called upon the aforementioned Brizuela and Velázquez to try and rescue the game but it was too late and León went on to face Pachuca in the Final.
Given Carlos Slim’s investment in both sides it makes a curious side plot to this year’s final.
Toluca 0 – 1 León (Agg 0-2)