Cruz Azul, one of the most popular clubs in Mexican soccer, won its ninth title on Sunday after more than two decades of failure, when it drew 1-1 with Santos Laguna in the defining match for the Final of the Guard1anes Closing tournament.
Cruz Azul, who was not champion since the Winter 1997 tournament, reached the coveted title with an aggregate score of 2-1, after having won the first leg 1-0.
“It is a historic night and I am part of this. We went through a bit of everything, bad and good, but we are proud of ourselves,” Argentine striker Walter Montoya told TUDN.
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, congratulated Cruz Azul on its title.
“Congratulations to Cruz Azul, the spell is over. Hugs to those of the house of other people’s pain,” the president wrote on his Twitter account.
In the match that defined the final series, Cruz Azul’s “Sky Machine” came close to scoring in the 26th minute with a header from Paraguayan Juan Escobar that was deflected by goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo.
Santos Laguna took the lead in the 37th minute with a powerful shot from Chilean Diego Valdés from outside the area, hitting the ball from the right corner.
Cruz Azul equalized in the 51st minute through Uruguayan Jonathan Rodríguez, who defined before Acevedo’s departure after a long pass from Peruvian Yoshimar Yotun on a counterattack play.
In compensation time, there were some blows between the players of the two clubs after Santiago Giménez fouled Brazilian defender Matheus Doria.
After the referee decreed the end, the Cruz Azul players and several fans who attended the Azteca stadium in Mexico City burst into tears.
“Blue, blue, blue,” the fans chanted.
In this way, Cruz Azul, who had lost the finals of the Winter 1999, Clausura 2008, Apertura 2008, Apertura 2009, Clausura 2013 and Apertura 2018 tournaments, won the coveted ninth star after those achieved in the 1968-1969 seasons, Mexico 1970 , 1971-1972, 1972-1973, 1973-1974, 1978-1979, 1979-1980 and in the Winter 1997 tournament.
In addition, Peruvian Juan Reynoso went down in club history by becoming the first Cruz Azul technical director to win a championship as a player and as a strategist. The Peruvian was captain of the squad that won the title in the Winter 1997 tournament.
“This is more enjoyable because there were several years of suffering and even mockery, now being at the top is something indescribable,” defender Adrián Aldrete told TUDN.
Thousands of Cruz Azul fans gathered at the Angel of Independence, a monument located on the central Paseo de la Reforma avenue, where Mexicans usually celebrate sporting successes.