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Raul Gutierrez hails Cruz Azul after 1-0 victory over Leon

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Cruz Azul defeated Leon 1-0 on Saturday night at the Estadio Azteca, doing just enough to advance to the quarter finals. 

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The majority of the match saw Leon and Cruz Azul level, with goalkeepers Roberto Cota and Jesús Corona doing plenty on either end. There were a few clear opportunities by Mexican national team player Uriel Antuna, but Cota remained solid in front of the net. 

It took the Machine 72 minutes to earn the lead, after Ignacio Rivero tapped the ball into the goal from a close range. The 1-0 victory wasn’t the dominating performance Cruz head coach Raul Gutierrez wanted, but he hailed his side for their resilience regardless. 

“It’s Cruz Azul, the big teams always have to be favorites, no matter how they enter, here and in China. We have to defend that position. I hope we have the merits to continue advancing,” he said.

It’s been a turbulent season for the Machine, concluding in seventh place despite a four-game losing streak and a record-breaking 7-0 loss to Club America. But Gutierrez insists the team has transformed to take on any opponent during the postseason, demanding high standards. 

“We have been transforming the team, that is the most important thing. Today we are in an instance where we can be champions, a team like Cruz Azul cannot think otherwise. This will end when it has to end, but we will fight for the championship. It is a team that always imposes in Liguilla. Today we can’t settle for having reached the quarter finals.”

Cruz Azul will have another goal to stand out on Wednesday in a two-legged race against either Monterrey or Santos Laguna, depending on outstanding results.

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