CONCACAF: Cruz Azul takes lead into second leg of final
Cruz Azul scored twice in a five-minute span of the first half en route to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night over Pachuca in the first leg of an all-Mexican CONCACAF Champions League final.
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Hector Gutierrez, left, of Cruz Azul fights for the ball with Damian Alvarez of Pachuca during Wednesday's game.
Emmanuel Villa scored in the 20th minute and Carlos Rodriguez turned a Maximiliano Biancucchi cross into his own net for a 24th-minute own goal at Estadio Azul in Mexico City.
The Cementeros lost to Mexican rival Atlante in last year's Champions League final.
Cruz Azul will be without defender Julio Cesar Dominguez next Wednesday at Pachuca in the second leg of the two-game, total-goals series. He was red-carded in the 79th minute for a violent foul on American midfielder Jose Torres.
Both clubs head into the final weekend of the Mexican Primera Division's "Bicentenario" regular season in the hunt for the three remaining playoff berths.
Cruz Azul (7-6-3, 24 points), which in advance of the CONCACAF first leg rested several starters in last weekend's 4-1 league loss to Puebla (and is without midfielder Gerardo Torrado, who is in Mexico's pre-World Cup camp), is in seventh place and plays Guadalajara on Saturday.
Pachuca (6-6-4, 22 points) is in 10th and plays at UANL Tigres. Eight teams qualify for the playoffs.