• Wednesday Apr 23, 2014

    Cruz Azul eager, optimistic ahead of second leg

    Cruz Azul's Mauro Formica (blue jersey) is keen to win the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)

    TOLUCA, Mexico – Cruz Azul will look to become CONCACAF champion for a record-breaking sixth time on Wednesday, when it takes on host Toluca in the second leg of their Champions League final series.

    The rivals played to an entertaining 0-0 draw in the opener on April 15 in Mexico City.

    Despite the disappointment of a 5-1 loss at Morelia while using an alternate line-up in Liga MX play on Friday, there is plenty of optimism within the Cruz Azul squad.

    “It is going to be a great final,” said defender Alejandro Castro, who has appeared in eight of La Maquina’s nine 2013-14 CCL games.  “They are two opponents that have great squads.  They are well led.  We are aware of what we are playing for and we are convinced of winning.”

    Mauro Formica also spoke of the team’s mentality before the match and the challenge that awaits Cruz Azul in Toluca.

    “We are positive,” declared Formica, a 26-year-old attacking midfielder with one career CCL goal.  “We are concentrated with desire to win this match.  It is going to be a complicated match.  It is a difficult field.  It is an opponent that plays well, but we are going with the desire to try to win this match.”

    It does not surprise the Argentine to see the top two teams in the current Liga MX standings battle for regional superiority.

    “The first leg was a hard-fought match, not much of a difference is taken from it, but it was good,” Formica expressed.  “Toluca and Cruz Azul were the most balanced teams of the season, most consistent and played well.  Tomorrow it is going to be different.  It is a final and we will try to win it.”

    The last time the sides met at Toluca, the host triumphed 3-0 on November 30, 2013, in a Liga MX Apertura quarterfinal.  Oscar Rojas, Pablo Velazquez and Francisco Gamboa scored in a winning effort. 

    In their last five encounters in all competitions, however, that was Cruz Azul’s only loss.

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