Humiliation at 'La Bombonera': Herediano KO's lackluster Toluca

Monterrey routs Comunicaciones to join four other Liga MX teams in CCL Round of 16

Herediano players celebrate in Toluca after stunning the Diablos Rojos with three second-half goals to eliminate the favored Liga MX side in the Concacaf Champions Cup.
Herediano players celebrate in Toluca after stunning the Diablos Rojos with three second-half goals to eliminate the favored Liga MX side in the Concacaf Champions Cup. / Jam Media/GettyImages

Toluca falls apart in second half

Herediano scored three second-half goals at “La Bombonera” to send Toluca crashing out of the Concacaf Champions Cup. 

The stunning loss infuriated Diablos Rojos fans who lustily booed their team as they left the field, some dousing their “heroes” with beer as they trudged to the locker room.

Goalie Tiago Volpi was getting the majority of the blame on social media immediately after the game, but the entire Diablos Rojos team can be accused of indifference and apathy. 

At least that was the view of this fan: 

After this inexcusably poor performance, one wonders if heads will roll. 

There will surely be speculation about coach Renato Paiva’s job security, but management also deserves scrutiny, especially considering the acrimonious departure of Ignacio Ambriz last season. 

Less than one year after guiding “Los Choriceros” to the Liga MX final, Ambriz left “El Infierno” with four games remaining in the Apertura 2023, reportedly because he was tired of constant interference from management.

Toluca came into Thursday night’s second-leg match with a 2-1 lead but it was an advantage that should have been greater as Herediano played with 10 men for the final 78 minutes.

Even so, the Diablos Rojos jumped out to an early lead with fullback Mauricio Isais putting the ball in the net in minute 5. Jesús Angulo added a second just before halftime and Toluca led 4-1 on aggregate heading into the locker room.

Coach Paiva made three changes to start the second half thinking that the game was in the bag. It was not.

Alexis Vega nearly made it 3-0 in minute 53 but then the bubble burst.

Herediano intercepted a bad pass by Vega and started a two-man break. Andy Rojas collected a pass from Orlando Galo as he approached the box and when Isais failed to close him down he let rip from from 18 meters, beating Volpi with rocket that clanged off the far post and into the net.

Five minutes later, Francisco Rodríguez scored with a leaping deflection that bounded past Volpi and inside the far post. Rodríguez and Joshua Canales – who assisted with a nice cross – had just subbed into the game.

The culprit on the game-tying goal was Jesús Piñuelas who had come on to start the second half. The defender failed to pick up Rodríguez as he drifted into position to receive the centering pass.

The series-clinching goal was the result of similar lack of effort by the Toluca back line. Defender Juan Escobar headed away a centering pass but the back line did not move out in coordinated fashion with Carlos Orrantia lagging behind keeping two Herediano players onside inside the box. 

Aaron Murillo tried to volley the clearance but mis-hit it … right to Canales who was now behind the defense, but onside. Canales looped a header toward the far post and Volpi helplessly watched as it bounded over the line.

Four minutes later, Isais was shown a red card and the fans who had filled the Estadio Nemesio Díez let the players hear it.

The 3-2 result pushed the aggregate score to 4-4 and Herediano – coached by Mexican Héctor Altamirano – advanced by virtue of its 3 away goals.

Monterrey 3, Comunicaciones 0

At the Estadio BBVA Bancomer, the host Rayados made quick work of the Guatemalan champs, completing a 7-1 aggregate victory with a comfortable 3-0 win on Thursday night.

Defender Héctor Moreno got The Striped Gang on the board just 10 minutes in, redirecting a Maxi Meza pass into the net from close range.

Twenty-one minutes later, Jesús Corona got his first goal since returning from a knee injury during last season’s playoffs. “Tecatito” zipped a shot past Fredy Pérez from just outside the box after knocking down a clearance attempt.

Brandon Vázquez added the third off a pass from Rodrigo Aguirre as his scuffed shot wrong-footed the hapless Pérez.

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Monterrey joins Pachuca, Tigres, América and Guadalajara in the Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16.