Toronto: Mexico’s Liga MX champions Chivas Guadalajara are the first continental champions to qualify for the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018 following a dramatic 4-2 penalty shoot-out win against fellow North and Central American and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) Champions League finalists, Toronto FC.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg in Toronto eight days ago, Guadalajara looked to have both hands on the Champions League trophy at a packed Estadio Akron on Wednesday night when they took the lead on 17 minutes.
A spirited Toronto had other ideas and the MLS champions fought-back with two goals before half-time, squaring the tie 3-3 on aggregate. After a scoreless second half and no extra time in the final, the match went to penalties, with the determined Mexicans converting four straight spot-kicks to come out on top.
Guadalajara’s dramatic victory sealed their first-ever triumph in the current Champions League format and a first continental crown since 1962. The Mexico champions now progress to the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018, which will be held in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain from December 12-22.
In claiming glory, Guadalajara are the 11th consecutive Mexican winners of the CONCACAF Champions League, underlining the Central American country’s ongoing dominance in the competition, which was renamed in 2008.
“It is something very important and transcendental in the history of this club since a Fifa Club World Cup has never happened for Chivas and this trophy hasn’t been won since 1962,” said former Argentina captain Matias Almeyda, Guadalajara’s head coach.