Sunday, December 14, 2008

Toluca-Cruz Azul penalties

I wasn't expecting Sunday's final between Toluca and Cruz Azul to go into extra time, let alone penalties. Cruz Azul were all but given up for dead - at least by yours truly - and it seemed just a matter of time before Toluca put a dagger in Cruz Azul's hearts. But La Maquina played with the heart of a champion and knocked off Toluca 2-0 in regulation to send the match to extra time. After no goals in 30 minutes, the two sides went to penalties.

But Cruz Azul was doomed. Even though their penaty-kick takers were doing the job, goalkeeper Yosgart Gutierrez was utterly lost in goal. On Toluca's first few shots, Gutierrez seemed at least confident although he guessed wrong. But somewhere around Toluca's third or fourth shot, Gutierrez's confidence was shot. It seemed only the posts or crossbar would stand in the way of Toluca's title.

In fact, the crossbar nearly helped out but on Toluca's sixth shot the ball hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced off Gutierrez's back and into the net. Then, Hernan Cristante did what he needed to do and stopped Cruz Azul's final shot and Toluca celebrated their ninth league championship.

I'll post highlights if and when they become available.

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