GUADALAJARA: Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara defeated Toronto FC on penalties to win the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday after the Major League Soccer club claimed a dramatic 2-1 second-leg victory to leave the final tied 3-3 on aggregate.
All 10 titles in the Champions League era, which began in 2008, have now gone to Mexican sides, but Toronto made Guadalajara earn their ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup by fighting back after losing the opening leg 2-1 at home.
Only three times in 54 competitive matches in Mexico have MLS teams returned home with a win, but the Reds very nearly dented that run of domination.
In the end Chivas were deadly from the penalty spot, scoring on all four shots, while Toronto’s Jonathan Osorio rang his attempt off the bar and his teammate Michael Bradley missed the net, entirely igniting a Guadalajara celebration.
Guadalajara had Estadio Akron on their feet when Orbelín Pineda, running onto a deft pass from Rodolfo Pizarro, slotted home in the 19th minute.
But Toronto would answer six minutes later when Jozy Altidore, left unmarked in the box, stabbed home a poacher’s goal from five metres.
Toronto took the lead just before half-time via a goal from a fired-up Sebastian Giovinco.
Booked in the 43rd minute for arguing with the referee, the Italian collected a pass from Marco Delgado and then beat Guadalajara goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota with a low shot that crept inside the near post.
Toronto had the better of the chances in a tight second half, with Giovinco watching his low shot slip past the post and Marco Delgado missing what looked a sure winner from close range in injury time.
As the winner of the CONCACAF Champions League, Guadalajara has qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup tournament that features the six continental club champions. The 2018 Club World Cup is set for December 12-22 in the United Arab Emirates.