He Lion Mexican conquered this Sunday the first CONCACAF Champions League of its history, by revalidating the 2-1 victory in the first leg with a 1-0 win against Los Angeles FC in the Californian city with a goal from Argentine Lucas Di Yorio.
Argentine coach Nicolás Larcamón’s El León returned the CONCACAF Champions League crown to Mexico after the Seattle Sounders ended a 16-game winning streak last year. ‘La Fiera’ is the thirteenth team from Mexico capable of winning the ‘Concachampions’. LAFC lost their second final of this tournament, after being denied glory by Tigres in 2020.
The Lion reached heaven in Los Angeles and, with the first international title in its history, will also be able to compete in the Club World Cup as king of North America.
The surroundings of the Banc of California were dyed with color from the early hours of the afternoon, with great Mexican representation and many fans of León, who were also noticed during and, of course, after the game.
LAFC fans welcomed their team with a large banner and the message ‘Finish ’em’ (Let’s finish them off) and, amid the smoke from the flares, the Angelenos came out with everything. They took control of the ball and, with Vela and Bouanga setting the pace, they created dangers in the Cota area with some good crosses that, however, nobody managed to take advantage of.
El León knew how to withstand the initial momentum and took advantage of his first clear opportunity to deal a psychological blow to his rival. Moreno went deep down the right wing and hung a cross in the heart of the area for Di Yorio to finish off for the 1-0. His shot didn’t come off clean, but goalkeeper McCarthy couldn’t hold it.
León gained confidence and LAFC lost it. As soon as they scored the first goal, the Mexicans recovered the ball and were about to widen the gap with Víctor Dávila against a rival in ‘shock’.
Cerundolo mixed the cards after the break. He opted for a defensive line of three in the game, but it did not go as he expected and he then gave way to Cifuentes, a midfielder, for Chiellini and went to a line of four. It was minute 63 when the American coach made his fifth substitution, taking out Vela for Biuk, seeing León in control of the game.
Los Angeles FC risked with six changes
The Mexican team played with quality and felt more and more comfortable on the pitch. LAFC took a risk with their fifth change, although curiously they ended up making a sixth, allowed by the regulations (cerebral trauma protocol) after Long suffered and Romero suffered a dangerous blow to the head that left them lying on the ground.
LAFC, with twenty minutes to play, turned completely to attack and León, only at that moment, agreed to lower their position, lock themselves in defense, and seek to take advantage of the spaces by giving way to a fast winger like Joel Campbell.
It was then that Cota came into play. The ‘La Fiera’ goalkeeper excelled with a monumental save against Opoku Kwadwo in minute 79, managing to clear his soft touch with his left foot. He also shone with some good starts and gave great security to his defense. León demonstrated tactical and mental solidity, defending himself with order and did not lose lucidity even in the ten minutes of added time ordered by the referee.
Cota stopped a Tillman header in minute 93 and the last occasion was for Murillo, whose shot ended high after a corner kick. The dream of LAFC ended at that moment and the doors of glory opened for the Lion.