Juan Carlos Cacho celebrates after converting a penalty kick in Toluca's 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League win over Comunicaciones on August 22, 2013, in Guatemala City. (Photo: Mexsport)
GUATEMALA CITY – Toluca took a large step towards progressing to the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) quarterfinals, defeating host Comunicaciones, 2-1, on Thursday at the Estadio Cementos Progreso. The Mexican side now sits in first place with six points from two Group 6 games, while the other teams have yet to register a point.
The victory also snapped the Red Devils’ seven-match away winless streak in the competition. Toluca’s last victory on the road came against D.C. United, 3-1, on August 26, 2009.
Comunicaciones, which played more than half of the final 45 minutes with only 10 players thanks to the ejection of Jose Contreras, suffered just its second-ever loss at home in the CCL after eight games.
The first half was played in a vibrant spirit and Toluca that took an early advantage.
After an enterprising run down the left side, Juan Carlos Cacho placed a square ball to the top of the box for Raul Nava, who beat goalkeeper Juan José Paredes with a left-footed shot in the 17th minute. It was Nava’s second goal in this season’s CCL.
Two minutes later Comunicaciones answered back. A well-hit free kick by Jose Manuel Contreras from just outside the area was blocked by Toluca goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, but Minor Lopez reacted to the rebound quickly and fired home with his left-foot to level the score at 1-1. Talavera suffered an injury after colliding with the post on the initial attempt and had to be replaced subsequently by Cesar Lozano.
Toluca regained the lead in the 26th minute, when Cacho converted a penalty kick after Carlos Figueroa was whistled for a handball in the box.
The intensity of the match did not lessen at all in the second half, as both teams continued to demonstrate a commitment to playing quality football. Comunicaciones’ road was made more difficult, though, following Contreras’ 66th minute expulsion.
Five minutes later, despite the disadvantage in manpower, the Cremas had a chance to equalize, but Bryan Ordoñez’s audacious effort from nearly 30-yards-out struck the crossbar and sailed out for a goal kick.
Comunicaciones will travel to Trinidad & Tobago to meet Caledonia AIA in the next group game on August 29.