Rogelio Chavez, Christian Gimenez, Marco Fabian Players of the Cruz Azul Team Champion, 2014 CONCACAF Champions League 23/04/2014 Photo: Mexport
TOLUCA, Mexico – It was a hard-fought final until the very last kick, but Cruz Azul emerged as the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League champion, overcoming Toluca on the away-goals rule after the two-legged series ended 1-1 on aggregate.
Afterwards, the team shared a jubilant celebration with the its traveling supporters. The relief of winning regional honors for the first time since 1997 was clearly evident.
“It is a unique moment, it is a big joy,” said defender Luis Perea. “The team, what it has done, deserves to be remembered.”
Forward Marco Fabian, who assisted on Mariano Pavone’s first-half goal in the second leg, did not hesitate to express his happiness.
“Thank God for this moment,” expressed the 24-year-old. “It is emotional, unforgettable. It is an immense happiness and a reward for our work.”
Goalkeeper Jesus Corona missed the first leg due to suspension, but his presence in the curtain closer was immense. The Mexico international made several spectacular saves that helped La Maquina avoid defeat.
“I’m very happy,” said Corona. “We have made a big effort. In the end we got it. It was a disputed final of agony. Toluca was a worthy opponent. We end it with a title and we continue forward.”
While Cruz Azul sits atop the current Liga MX standings and has the possibility of collecting more silverware in the coming weeks, midfielder Gerardo Torrado turned his thoughts toward December’s FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.
“It is a title for which we worked a lot,” noted Torrado, a veteran of Cruz Azul’s run to the inaugural CCL final in 2009. “There were a lot of sacrifices. I am very happy. I am eager to play a Club World Cup. I enjoy it a lot. I am very happy because the team deserves it.”
Christian Gimenez won the 2009-10 CCL as a member of Pachuca. He was filled with emotion, describing – with tears in his eyes -- the sensation that he felt for becoming a CONCACAF champion once again.
“In the final moments we were full of nerves,” the midfielder concluded. “It has to be enjoyed with these fans because they deserve it.”