Toluca and Chivas of Guadalajara commenced the Apertura 2012 of the new Liga MX with many new expectations, within them to reach the playoffs. Toluca recently lost feared striker Ivan Alonso who says he may retire from the sport due to cardiovascular problems, while Chivas has three potential starters in the Mexico Olympic squad, amongst them Marco Fabian. The game, which took play at Toluca’s Nemesio Diez Stadium, saw a shaky game in which Chivas looked unstable at times and which Toluca played a smart first half to obtain their first victory with a 2-1 score.
The Rebaño under new Dutch coach, John Van’t Schip started the game with a surprising lineup which included many young faces among them Octavio Villanueva and Abraham Coronado in the defense, Giovani Hernandez in the midfield, and Carlos Fierro in the offense. Toluca quickly scored the 1-0 in the 3rd minute on a run by Carlos Esquivel. On that play, the young Guadalajara defense showed they were nervous and let Esquivel to run freely inside the box which led to an easy score.
As the minutes passed, Toluca had most possession of the ball while Chivas failed on many pass attempts in the middle and upper side of the pitch. However, what made the difference were the injuries by rookie Giovani Hernandez who had to leave the field in the 8th minute with a leg injury, and more seriously, Toluca’s defender Diego Novaretti who left directly to the hospital in the 38th munute with concussion symptoms after colliding with goalie Alfredo Talavera.
In the 32nd minute, Chivas’ defensive line once again lost concentration as left-wing rookie, Coronado, attempted a failed offside trap of Toluca’s Juan Carlos Cacho which allowed the forward to take an easy, but powerful shot from outside the box which beat Luis Michel for the 2-0 score. The first half ended with a 2-0 advantage for the local team.
To commence the second half, Van’t Schip substituted Villanueva for young forward Erick Torres in an attempt to allow the offense to produce more attempts on goal. Quickly, the game took on a different course, and with new midfielder Luis Perez and the experience of Rafael Marquez Lugo in the offense, Chivas began to take good
shots on goal. All three Guadalajara forwards, Marquez Lugo, Fierro, and Torres, had good opportunities to shorten Toluca’s lead, but it was not until the 67th minute that Marquez Lugo made it 2-1. Perez chipped the ball into the box and Torres chested to Marquez Lugo who took a potent shot to Talavera’s right post.
Unfortunately for Chivas, the offense was not able to have many concrete scoring plays, greatly due to Toluca’s great defensive play, and the game ended in a 2-1 victory for the Diablos Rojos. With this victory, new coach Enrique Meza obtains the first three points for a team that will fight for a playoff position, while Van’t Schip will need to quickly improve Guadalajara’s play if he wants his team to be a playoff contender.
-Coach Enrique Meza returns to the team which saw him win most of his Mexican league titles with 3 out of 4.
-Diego Novaretti is reported to be in condition after being substituted for a hit on his head.
-Chivas was unable to win, which makes it more than four months since their last victory in an official game.
Toluca– Alfredo Talavera, Marvin Cabrera, Diego Novaretti (Francisco Gamboa), Edgar Dueñas, Carlos Gerardo Rodriguez, Lucas Silva (Isaac Brizuela), Antonio Rios, Sinha (Edgar Benitez), Wilson Tiago, Carlos Esquivel, Juan Carlos Cacho
Chivas– Luis Michel, Octavio Villanueva (Erick Torres), Hector Reynoso, Mario de Luna, Abraham Coronado, Luis Perez, Patricio Araujo, Giovani Hernandez (Xavier Baez), Carlos Fierro (Jesus Sanchez), Rafael Marquez Lugo, Omar Arellano