Ecuadorian striker, Enner Valencia once again illustrated why he has been the standout player in Liga MX this season, as his brace helped Pachuca to a 3-2 victory over León in the Nou Camp last night. Los Tuzos are now in the driving seat ahead of the return leg to claim their first Liga MX title since the 2007 Clausura.
León remain very dangerous opponents in their bid to win back-to-back titles and they started the match brightly. A resurgent, Carlos Peña hit the crossbar in an excellent opening period, largely dominated by the home side as Pachuca looked to defend and then break quickly.
Eventually, León’s pressure produced a breakthrough and came via the head of Peña but the lead did not last long.
Minutes before the break, Pachuca were level and it was the free scoring Valencia who claimed it. Turning in Dieter Villalpando’s far post cross for yet another goal sees Valencia’s stock rise with every game. Considering his relatively recent switch to playing as a striker, Valencia could be a surprise package at the World Cup and beyond.
After the break, Pachuca looked far more in control and León did not have the same level of dominance that they enjoyed in the first half. Both sides had chances but it was Valencia again who took his. On the hour mark, Valencia evaded the marking of Jonny Magallán to head in his second of the game.
With León on the ropes, Los Tuzos added a third through Hirving Lozano and looked to be running away with the tie.
However, León managed to get themselves something of a life-line when Miguel Herrera turned the ball into his own net and make the score 3-2.
This set up an enthralling final 15 minutes with both sides committing men forward and creating chances but the scoreline remained the same.
With away goals not counting, León are very much still in the tie and both sides will be disappointed with how they defended. They meet again on Sunday night to decide who will be crowned champions.