The final group 6 matchup in the Copa Libertadores came on Tuesday night between Brazilian side Gremio and Mexican side Toluca.
It was a bit of a dead rubber with both teams already assuring themselves qualification into the knock-out stages, and with first place guaranteed, Toluca would rest some players in what was a bit of an auxiliary side in Brazil.
Gremio got off to a hot start, creating chance after chance and exploiting Toluca’s fullbacks down the wings.
The Brazilian side’s persistence would pay off with a breakthrough goal after a quarter of an hour, when Luan found and unmarked Ramiro who headed the ball past Toluca’s Liborio Sanchez, giving the home side and early 1-0 advantage.
The Mexicans slowly but surely begin to settle into the match. Creating a few half chances but nothing really to worrying for the Gremio defense for the entirety of the first half.
The second half found itself to be more of a fluid and expansive game. The end-to-end action saw Gremio come close to adding to their narrow lead – once again taking advantage of Toluca down the wings.
Toluca seemed to get a foothold on the match by controlling the majority of possession but were unable to break down the organized Brazilian defense,
Not much would happen as the game approached the final minutes. It appeared Hugo Almeaida had killed the match off with Gremio’s second, but the goal was ruled offside by the linesman.
The match ended 1-0, with Toluca finishing the group winner with 13 points and Gremio would advance with 11.
With a tightly contested end to the Clausura tournament, it was understandable to see a makeshift Toluca XI.
Ultimately it’s tough for Mexican sides to compete in both Liga MX and a tenuous competition in a different continent such as Libertadores, but Toluca can consider their first objective complete a resounding success, not only getting out of group but coming out winners as well.