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Pachuca boss Guillermo Almada: We haven’t won anything yet

A clinical performance from Pachuca saw them thrash Toluca 5-1 away from home in the first leg of the 2022 Apertura final

Roddy Cons
A clinical performance from Pachuca saw them thrash Toluca 5-1 away from home in the first leg of the 2022 Apertura final
Alex CruzEFE

Pachuca have one hand on the 2022 Apertura trophy after a stunning 5-1 victory at Toluca in the first leg of the final on Thursday evening. Two goals inside the opening 15 minutes set Guillermo Almada’s side on the way to victory and only a dramatic collapse in Sunday’s second leg would see them fail to claim a first tournament win since the 2016 Clausura.

Non-xG (expected goals) fans look away now. Los Tuzos outperformed their expected goals tally by almost four clear goals, with Romario Ibarra’s superb opener from an unlikely angle followed by a couple of set-piece goals and a defensive howler from Los Diablos Rojos as Pachuca went in four goals up at half-time.

Guillermo Arana: “Nobody hands you the title before the second game”

Speaking post-match, Almada played down the margin of his side’s victory in an attempt to keep minds focused before Sunday’s game:

“We haven’t won anything yet, that’s clear to us. I said that to the players in the dressing room. We’re keeping out feet on the ground. Nobody hands you the title before playing the second game, we have to prove we deserve it out on the field.”

Pachuca’s 5-1 win over Toluca a “freak result”

Pachuca have earned praise this season for their attacking style of play and the Uruguayan was at pains to insist that that’s also the best form of defence for his side:

“It’s one of these freak results that happens in football. The best way to defend a goal scored is to look for another one, that’s in our DNA, I can’t stress that enough. It’s a freak result and we’re not fooling ourselves, we know we’re in for another tough 90 minutes in Pachuca.”

Efficiency in the final third from Pachuca

Almada drew comparisons between his team’s display on Thursday and their performances in the 2022 Clausura final against Atlas, which they narrowly lost. He praised his team’s greater efficiency in the final third but wasn’t pleased with how they finished the match:

“We were more ruthless in front of goal tonight than in last year’s final against Atlas, when we created lots of chances in both games. Goals decide matches. Tonight, we were more clinical and we need to keep going in the same vein. Especially the way we played in the first 75 minutes and not in the last 15. I didn’t like the way we finished the game and I told the players that.”