The first leg of the Toluca vs America Liga MX semifinal held at the Estadio Nemesio Diez, ended in a 2-1 victory for Toluca. Club America dominated throughout the first half, but coach Cardozo was able to motivate his team for a second half comeback.
Miguel Herrera setup his Club America with his typical 5-3-2 formation, not too offensive, not too defensive, balanced just right. This formation proved to be very effective in the first half, as Toluca’s powerful offense was nullified for the first half of the game.
Club America eventually took the lead in the 34th minute, after a series of passes led to a cross that Luis Rey tapped in for the 1-0 lead. The first half would end with Club America as the clear victor.
Coach Cardozo made a gutsy substitution at half time, bringing out Sinha, the team’s creator, for Raul Nava. With Sinha off the field, Toluca moved the ball around much faster, and was able to generate many more scoring opportunities.
Isaac Brizeula scored the first goal for Toluca in the 50th minute with a beautiful long shot from outside the box. Toluca would go on to take the 2-1 lead off another fantastic shot from Edgar Benitez in the 55th minute. Although both goals were well placed, Moises Munoz could have possibly done a little better to try to stop them (specially that second goal).
Toluca would go on to generate a couple of more scoring opportunities, until around the 70th minute, when America was once again able to take control of the match. America came close to scoring in the final minutes of the match, but Talavera kept out any potential goals. The match would end 2-1 in favor of Toluca.
Even though Club America lost, they scored what could turn out to be a key away goal. Due to the away goals rule, America would need to win by 1-0, 2-1, or any other win where the score differential is +2.
This semifinal series is far from over, as Club America has been very strong at the Estadio Azteca all season long. We can expect a great match next Sunday, December 8, 2013.