Cruz Azul vs. Toluca: Final score 0-0, Diablos Rojos get away draw in first leg

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Toluca went to Cruz Azul and came away with a great away draw to inch closer to the CONCACAF Champions League title.

Toluca didn't score a goal at Estadio Azul, but they did the job. The Diablos Rojos earned a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, sending them to the second leg knowing that all they need is a home win to be crowned the best team in the region.

Cruz Azul had the better chances in the match and on several occasions could have gone in front, but Toluca defended well. They cut out a slew of crosses, made a handful of late blocks and, when that failed them, Alfredo Talavera was there to bail them out.

That's not to say Toluca were completely overmatched. They had their chances, especially through Pablo Velasquez, who missed from five yards on a golden opportunity, while Antonio Rios hit the post three minutes from time, but their real work came on defense. They took away the wings and forced Cruz Azul to the center, where they had help. That was especially important in trying to keep Marco Fabian in check, and while Fabian did have his chances, Toluca benefited from the way they shepherded him towards their central defenders and midfielders tracking back.

Cruz Azul poured on the pressure late, with Fabian and Christian Gimenez each getting chances in stoppage time, but as was the case all match, Toluca held on. They were good, sometimes lucky, and got contributions from everyone to take control of the tie.

The second leg of the final will be played on April 23 at La Bombonera. The winner will earn a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup.

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