TAMPA, Florida – Bryan Angulo struck twice in the first half to put Cruz Azul in control of their 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal with Toronto FC with a 3-1 first leg victory on Tuesday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Cruz Azul enjoyed a sizzling start and Angulo provided the heat with a right-footed rocket that went blazing into the top right corner of Toronto FC GK Alex Bono’s net for a 1-0 lead in the 3’.
Toronto FC kept their heads and pulled level 1-1 in the 20’ when a cross from Justin Morrow took a deflection before settling in front of Jonathan Osorio, who fired into net for the equalizer.
Cruz Azul thought they had pulled ahead less than two minutes after the Toronto FC goal, but their goal was ruled offside by VAR, making it the first time that VAR was used in official Concacaf competition, with referee Ricardo Montero reviewing the play at the on-field screen and making the call.
Back came Cruz Azul and Angulo would restore La Maquina’s lead in the 34’ off a corner kick when Pablo Aguilar guided a header toward goal and Angulo was there to swing it in for a 2-1 lead.
Set pieces remained Cruz Azul’s strong point in the second half and they stretched the lead to 3-1 in the 58’ when Aguilar rose to meet a free kick and headed in past Bono.
Cruz Azul continued pushing for more and Santiago Gimenez came within a whisker of scoring his team’s fourth in the 72’ with a header that thumped off the post and was eventually cleared.
From there, the Cruz Azul defense took over, keeping the Toronto FC attack at bay to give themselves a healthy advantage going into next week’s return leg in Mexico.