Action from the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal between Cruz Azul (left) and Sporting Kansas City on March 19, 2014, in Mexico City. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – For the fourth time in as many attempts, Cruz Azul qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals after Wednesday’ 5-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City paved the way for a 5-2 triumph in the total-goals series.
At halftime of the second leg, the sides were even on aggregate, 2-2, but the current U.S. champion held the advantage of an away goal. Cruz Azul, though, went on to score three unanswered goals and kept its hopes alive of capturing a record sixth CONCACAF title.
After the match, La Maquina midfielder Gerardo Torrado spoke to CONCACAF TV.
“It was an all-around match from the team, never lost calm and we continued to go forward in the match and we got a very good result,” said Torrado, who has three career CCL goals. “It is a large team, it has a lot of quality and the manager is going to have options and that is very good for all competitions.”
Cruz Azul forward Mariano Pavone struck for a hat trick against Sporting and was delighted with his team’s performance.
“Sporting Kansas City is a hard opponent,” Pavone commented. “They run a lot. We knew that it was not going to be a simple game. We finished, making it look easy, but I am happy with the win and with the three goals.”
In a call with reporters after the match, Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes did not hesitate to give credit to the Mexican team for their win.
“That team deserves what they got today,” Vermes said. “We weren't good enough at the start of the game and we weren't good enough in the second half, but in the end, they were better than us tonight.”
Cruz Azul will now prepare for a semifinal showdown with fellow Liga MX side Club Tijuana, which got past the LA Galaxy in another quarterfinal.