Cruz Azul made their long awaited debut at the Club World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers FC. The win sets up Cruz Azul in a semifinal match-up versus the UEFA Champions League title holders, Real Madrid.
From the start it was a game characterized by the heavy rain and large puddles of water across the field. To the surprise of many, the referee OK’d the game to get underway.
It was Western Sydney Wanderers who struck first in the 65th minute, Iacopo La Rocca hit a stunner from distance to put the Australian side up 1-0.
The rain made the pitch difficult to play with, and a 74th minute red card would further complicate things for the Australians. When it seemed like they were close to an unprecedented victory, Gerardo Torrado struck an 89th minute penalty to equalize the score and force extra-time.
In extra-time, a second red card for the Australian team would put their backs further against the wall. Cruz Azul capitalized on the two-men advantage and Mariano Pavone scored off a rebound for the go-ahead goal.
Gerardo Torrado finally sealed the win in the 118th minute with another penalty, his second of the game. Cruz Azul will now face Real Madrid on Tuesday with a spot in the final on the line.