- Mexican club win maiden CONCACAF Champions League title at first attempt
- Sebastian Giovinco won the tournament's Golden Ball for best player
- Guadalajara will make their FIFA Club World Cup debut later in the year
Guadalajara won through to their first FIFA Club World Cup later this year after seeing off Toronto FC in the final of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League. After winning the first leg in Canada 2-1, the Mexicans fell to defeat by the same scoreline in the return, with penalties being needed to separate the two sides.
Chivas, who have fielded only Mexican players throughout their history, held their nerve in the shootout, converting all of their first four penalties, while Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley both missed from the spot as the trophy slipped from Toronto’s grasp.
A new format
The 2018 CONCACAF Champions League lasted a little over two months, starting on 20 February and ending on 25 April. With no group phase, the 16 teams went straight into two-legged knockout mode until only one of them was left standing.
A glance at the statistics shows that Guadalajara were worthy winners. The Mexicans scored 14 goals in all, while conceding only four, winning their Round-of-16 and semi-final ties without a single defensive blemish. Their eight games saw them secure five wins and a draw, while suffering two defeats.
Guadalajara had not taken part in the competition since it was renamed the CONCACAF Champions League ten years ago. The Mexicans made the perfect entrance, however, walking away with the trophy and securing a place at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018.
Toronto stand tall
The Canadians knocked out Tigres and multiple Champions League winners America en route to the final, where they came so close to taking the title. Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio were the tournament’s joint leading scorers with four goals each, a reflection of Toronto’s excellence in reaching the final. They are only the third MLS side to have got to the final hurdle in the competition, after Salt Lake City and Montreal Impact.
Golden Ball for Giovinco
The 31-year-old is the first MLS player ever to win the award and first player not from a Mexican side to collect it in six years. Giovinco was a deserving recipient too, leading the way for Toronto with four goals and three assists.
56 - The number of years since Guadalajara were last champions of the North, Central American and Caribbean Zone. In 1962 Chivas defeated Comunicaciones of Guatemala 6-0 on aggregate in the final of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, as the competition was then known.
What they said
“We’ve put a lot of effort into winning this trophy and it’s ours now. I’ll always be immensely grateful to the group of players I lead. Without them it’s impossible for a coach to develop and grow.” Guadalajara coach Matias Almeyda