Action from the CONCACAF Champions League game between visiting Toluca (white) and Caledonia AIA on September 18, 2013, at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo: Allan Crane)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – Mexico’s Toluca extended its Group 6 lead to six points on Wednesday with a 5-1 win over host Caledonia AIA in a CONCACAF Champions League game at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
A Raul Nava brace, plus single tallies by Carlos Esquivel, Edy Brambila and Sinha, lifted the Red Devils to their third straight triumph in the competition and eliminated the Trinidadians from contention. Toluca’s goal haul fell two short of a team record for a single game in the competition, which it set against Marathon in a 7-0 victory on September 17, 2009.
The two sides came out with ample attacking enthusiasm as both enjoyed several scoring chances in the first half.
The visitors opened their goal account in the 17th minute, when Nava easily tapped in from close range off a Daniel Vega pass from the endline.
That lead was doubled nine minutes later through an Esquivel effort from the penalty area’s upper right corner that wasn’t cut down by the Caledonia defense and skipped past goalkeeper Shemel Louison into the side netting.
The home side enjoyed its best opportunity in the 32nd minute, but an attempt from Kithson Bain – the recently signed Grenada-international forward -- went agonizingly wide left after some nice combination play.
Toluca -- the two-time winner of the CONCACAF Champions Cup – made it 3-0 four minutes before the interval. Brambila pounced on a ball that was parried into his path by Louison to net his second career CCL goal.
Just seconds after both teams emerged from the break, Caledonia sliced into the lead. The active Bain stroked a right-footed shot from 10-yards past goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.
Nava restored the three-goal cushion in the 67th minute. Louison could not handle a Toluca pass into his six-yard box and the opportunistic Nava knocked the free ball into the back of the net for his tournament-leading fourth goal.
In the 72nd minute, a left-footed strike from Sinha completed the scoreline.
Toluca could clinch its third trip to the CCL quarterfinals if Caledonia beats or ties Comunicaciones in the next Group 6 game on September 25.