Cruz Azul vs. Sporting KC: Final score 5-1, Mexicans cruise into semifinals

Cruz Azul will play Tijuana in the semifinals.

Sporting Kansas City took a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, but it didn't last long, and the tie wasn't competitive for long either. Cruz Azul absolutely throttled their MLS opponents, scoring in the second minute to start a 5-1 demolition that sends them through to the semifinals, 5-2 on aggregate.

Mariano Pavone equalized the tie two minutes after kick when he was able to turn his defender, giving him a clear look at goal, and fire into the top corner. Any hope that Sporting had of leaning on their normally strong defense at Estadio Azul was crushed pretty early on.

It took just 20 more minutes for Cruz Azul to go in front and once again, it was Pavone. This time the play started with Marco Fabian, who raced down the left before shooting to the far post. Eric Kronberg got down to make the save, but he left the rebound right in front of goal for Pavone to pounce on and bury for the 2-0 lead and 2-1 aggregate advantage.

Sporting weren't completely hapless. They had the ball for a few stretches and would have scored if it wasn't for Jose de Jesus Corona, who made a great save on Jacob Peterson to keep the visitors off the board.

Corona wasn't as good in the 43rd minute, though. Benny Feilhaber cut in from the left and ripped a low shot from 20 yards that Corona should have stopped at the near post, but it skipped past him and in, leveling the tie at 2-2. With that goal, Sporting didn't just have hope, they had a foot in the semifinals as their away goal gave them the advantage.

If only that away goal would prove to mean a thing.

Cruz Azul beat Sporting so badly in the second half that away goals never came up. First, Sergio Napoles's 55th minute cross found Pavone, who completed the hat trick with a clinical finish. 11 minutes later, Mauro Formica got in on the action, getting to a loose ball in front and putting it into the open net. And as if a 4-1 lead wasn't enough, Formica played Christian 'Chaco' Gimenez in with a great header, which Chaco buried with a gorgeous finish to make it 5-2 on aggregate.

Sporting were no match for Cruz Azul, and the Mexicans were headed to the semifinals.

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