Forge FC's inaugural Concacaf Champions League came to an end on Thursday evening, as the Canadian Premier League side lost 3-1 to Mexican club Cruz Azul at the famous Estadio Azteca. The win secured a 4-1 aggregate victory for the home side, who will take on CF Montreal in the next round. The home side wasted no time at all, scoring inside five minutes. Lunging to get his foot on the end of a cross into the box from a Rómulo Otero free kick, Ángel Romero volleyed the ball into the top of the net. His early strike doubled Cruz Azul's lead on aggregate, after a 1-0 victory at Tim Hortons Field one week ago. Rafael Baca made it 2-0 for the home side about 15 minutes later, beating Forge goalkeeper Triston Henry with a shot from distance. His shot curled toward the top right corner of the goal, and Henry got a touch on it, but the strike was too powerful for him to turn away.
RELATED: Match Analysis: Cruz Azul 3-1 Forge FC (4-1 agg.) -- Concacaf Champions League
Forge boss Bobby Smyrniotis swapped his two wingers, moving Tristan Borges to the right wing and David Choiniere to the left, and it paid off immediately. Picking up the ball at the edge of the penalty area, Choinière -- who has a reputation for scoring in continental action -- moved laterally to open up some space before firing a low shot into the bottom right corner of the goal, past a diving Sebastián Jurado. Cruz Azul restored their two-goal lead just before the break, as defender Juan Escobar headed home from close range. After a corner was temporarily cleared away from danger, Luis Ángel Mendoza chipped a pass over the Forge defence, and Escobar dived to head the ball back across goal and past Henry. The home side entered halftime up 3-1 (4-1 on aggregate), giving themselves a commanding lead with 45 minutes to go. The second half was relatively quiet compared to the first half, except for a pare of massive chances for Cruz Azul in the final 10 minutes or so of the match. Triston made a fine save to deny the first shot on goal, before getting some help from his post a few minutes later. Closing in on goal following a perfectly-weighted through ball, Ivan Morales fired off a shot, but it struck the inside of the post before being cleared away. It would end 3-1 at the Azteca, 4-1 on aggregate, ending Forge's tournament. They'll take to the pitch again in April with the start of the Canadian Premier League season, taking on Pacific FC in a 2021 final rematch to begin the season. Cruz Azul advances to the quarterfinals, where they will take on another Canadian team, MLS side CF Montreal.
BOX SCORE Goals 5' — Ángel Romero (Cruz Azul) 21' -- Rafael Baca (Cruz Azul) 26' -- David Choiniere (Forge FC) 44' -- Juan Escobar (Cruz Azul) Discipline 86' -- Yellow: Kwasi Poku (Forge FC)