León have gradually been gathering momentum since sneaking into La Liguilla three weeks ago and last night the comeback was completed in dramatic fashion. In Pachuca’s Estadio Hidalgo, an injury time, Nacho González header gave Los Esmeraldas a historic second Liga MX title in as many years. The first side to claim back-to-back titles since the 2004 Pumas side, León proved their champions credentials by overcoming their first leg defeat.
Trailing 3-2 from the first leg León did not get off to the best start as injury forced off Jonny Magallón and Franco Arizala within the opening 8 minutes. However, undeterred by this blow it was León on the front foot and looking threatening with Mauro Boselli regularly involved.
However, Pachuca remained dangerous and with the pace and trickery Jürgen Damm and Enner Valencia, León’s defence and goalkeeper, William Yarbrough had to remain alert and vigilent.
Anxiety grew the longer the game stayed goalless as Los Tuzos were caught in two minds, whether to drop and keep a clean sheet or find another goal.
With 66 minutes on the clock, León got their breakthrough when José Cárdenas’ cross was met by Boselli and although Conejo Pérez got plenty behind the ball he was unable to prevent the close range header from falling over the line. A forceful header from such range was always difficult to keep out but the 41-year old keeper will be disappointed.
Both sides were still committed and created chances but with away goals not counting in the Final, the tie went to extra time. Those against the structure of this tournament will point to the fact that León themselves progressed earlier against Cruz Azul via away goals and would have lost the Final if the same rules applied.
Either way the match went into extra time and once again sloppy defending from a set piece decided the tie. In the 112th minute, Luís Montes, whose influence had continued to grow, sent over a corner and Nacho González found the space to head in the winner.
León claimed their seventh title and became only the second side to win back-to-back titles in the current format.