Liga MX Champion: Pachuca Defeats Toluca to Win Apertura Title

The second leg of the Liga MX Apertura finals, pitting the winners of the regular season against the champions of the playoffs, was more like a coronation than an actual soccer match. The two teams, Pachuca and Toluca, played to determine which team would be crowned champions of Mexico’s premier soccer league, but in actuality, the only thing at stake was pride and bragging rights. The real result had already been determined in the first leg.

Summary of First Leg

Pachuca secured Liga MX’s 2022 Apertura title in emphatic fashion Sunday, as the Tuzos put six goals past Toluca en route to a 6-0 victory and a 7-1 aggregate triumph.

The result was a formality after their first leg drubbing all but sealed the trophy at Estadio Nemesio Díez. The second leg was just for show; it could not change the eventual outcome.

Pachuca began aggressively, attacking with pace and purpose from the outset of the game.

They got their reward on 10 minutes when defender Julio Cesar Dominguez nodded home from close range following an excellent through ball from Angel Mena. Just five minutes later, captain Pablo Perez doubled the lead.

An inch perfect pass from Michael Perez found him in acres of space and he coolly slotted past Diego Alonso to send the Tuzos into dreamland.

It should have been 3-0 moments later but Ariel Rodriguez saw his spot kick saved by Toluca keeper Diego Alonso.

Still buoyed by that miss though, they soon went up 4-0 when Mena made it three assists for the evening by picking out Francisco Ruiz with a pinpoint cross from deep on the left wing which was headed into his own net by Omar Perez.

With just over 20 minutes gone in Sunday’s clash at Estadio Nemesio Díez, this one was done and dusted already. Ricardo Osorio added another shortly before the break, while there were two more before the final whistle.

Leonel Lopez volleyed in just after halftime, before Kevin Malcorra won it with a penalty four minutes from time following Marlon Silva’s foul on Franco Jara.

The celebrations had begun long before then though as Pachuca lifted their sixth Liga MX crown thanks to Pedro Aquino’s late goal against Queretaro last Saturday.

Now crowned league champion for a record-breaking fourth time, coach Roberto Hernández is set to sign off with the most successful managerial tenure ever seen in Mexico football history – nine titles since taking charge of the team midway through 2015 (including five consecutive).

Previewing Second Leg

The the second leg was a formality following a first-leg drubbing on Sunday which essentially sealed the trophy, in Pachuca’s case, while Sunday’s Liga MX finale was just a coronation, with Pachuca getting the nod.

Pachuca secured Liga MX’s 2022 Apertura title with their 4-1 victory against Toluca Sunday afternoon at Estadio Hidalgo in front of 43,000 fans.

Nestor Calderon opened the scoring in the 12th minute off a corner kick and Oribe Peralta doubled Pachuca’s lead on his team’s next possession.

In the 36th minute, Erick Torres struck again with his 10th goal of the playoffs and made it 3-0 before halftime on yet another corner kick.

Despite being forced to make three substitutions during halftime because of injuries, Torneo Clausura winner Toluca were unable to mount much resistance in what turned out to be one of their most disappointing finals performances ever.

Andres Renteria scored an own goal off Erick Torres’ cross shortly before Hector Herrera iced it from distance in stoppage time for an emphatic final tally that was symbolic as well as painful for Los Choriceros.

There was no need for a shoot-out this time around, unlike last year when the Red Devils beat Tigres UANL by penalty kicks in front of over 90,000 people.

Pachuca became just the third club to win back-to-back league titles since 2000 and did so without having to win any playoff games outside of Mexico City.

That also made them the only defending champion since 2013 who didn’t have to play at altitude away from home.

Manager Diego Alonso’s plan was executed perfectly, too, as Erick Torres played right into Toluca goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera’s hands, who has long been considered one of the best shot stoppers in Mexican football history.

First Half

Pachuca secured Liga MX’s 2022 Apertura title with a 2-0 win over Toluca in Sunday’s second leg of the final.

Tuzos stormed past their opponents in the first half, opening the scoring after 12 minutes and doubling their lead just before halftime.
The result was never really in doubt.

Pablo Velasquez, who had failed to find the net in his previous nine games, scored both goals for Los Tuzos and was named Man of the Match by Castrol Lubricants.

With its fourth Liga MX title, Pachuca has cemented its place as one of Mexico’s most successful clubs.

The feeling is that we are finally fulfilling our destiny, said goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez on Univision Deportes. We always knew we could do it. And I think we deserved this championship. That feels good.

The celebratory mood spilled onto social media with Javier Chicharito Hernandez tweeting Congratulations my friends, champions once again! while Eintracht Frankfurt teammate Kevin Trapp posted pictures of himself enjoying the game at Estadio Azteca while watching from Germany.

You can’t see me but I am celebrating!!! he wrote alongside an image of the live scoreboard.

In particular, victory would have been extra sweet for former Bayern Munich defender Pablo Valesquez who played five years for Die Roten in between two spells at Pachuca.

I came back to Pachuca because this team needs more trophies, he told ESPN afterwards.We have a group which deserves them.

It’s incredible, continued Valesquez. To achieve this goal against such an opponent – because Toluca also played very well – makes us feel very satisfied.

Second Half

Pachuca has reclaimed the Liga MX title it last held in 2014, defeating Toluca 4-2 on Sunday’s second leg of the two-leg final.

The result, essentially, was already in hand for Los Tuzos by virtue of a 5-1 first-leg victory. Nonetheless, it was only appropriate that they should confirm their triumph with a resounding victory at Estadio Nemesio Diez.

With Jesus Corona’s opener in the 17th minute and Aldo De Nigris’ second goal of the night four minutes later following up a first half goal from Pablo Barrera, there was never really any doubt as to who would be crowned champions of Mexico’s premier league this season.

Indeed, Toluca was fortunate not to have conceded more goals than it did before halftime.

Once Javier Aquino made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute, Pachuca’s lead looked insurmountable even if Toluca did manage an unlikely rally in stoppage time (which included an excellent finish from Antonio Rios).

Ultimately, though, Kevin Gutierrez added insult to injury in injury time when he sealed the game with his team’s fourth goal.

Toluca had staged its own impressive turnaround over the course of these playoffs after being thoroughly outplayed at home during the first leg.

Miguel Herrera deserves credit for finding a system that worked for his side and sticking with it – but credit must also go to Pachuca coach Cesar Farias for coming up with one that didn’t seem terribly effective until these last few weeks either.

Ultimately, however, Farias will still have mixed feelings about this season given how much ground his team lost early on when they were knocked out of Copa Libertadores contention while struggling dom

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