Toluca moved to the brink of advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League knockout stage, recording a convincing 3-0 victory against San Juan Jabloteh in a Group B match at Nemesio Diaz Wednesday night.
The Diablos Rojos improved to 4-0 in the Group Stage and could book its berth into the quarterfinals with a Marathon win or draw at D.C. United on Thursday. The result left Toluca comfortably atop Group B with 12 points, six ahead of Marathon, and nine in front of D.C.
San Juan Jabloteh, one of two Trinidad & Tobago clubs in the group stage, was eliminated from quarterfinal contention with its fourth loss in as many matches.
The hosts attacked from the opening kick and took a deserved lead on 29 minutes. Isaac Brizuela had time and space and curled a slightly deflected shot off a San Juan Jabloteh defender and inside the far side netting, rendering goalkeeper Cleon John helpless.
Three minutes after Raul Nava bounced a header wide of the goal, Colombian Vladimir Marin unleashed a powerful blast from distance and, if not for a stunning save by John, who dived to his right to get a piece before covering up the rebound, the Trinidad & Tobago squad would have been down by two goals at the break.
John was again equal to the task in the 66th minute, making a stunning save of Diego de la Torre's point-blank header off a Marin corner kick. But Manuel Zarate pounced on the rebound and doubled the host's advantage.
Nestor Calderon capped the scoring in the 78th minute for the Diablos Rojos when he took Zarate's cross that glanced off a San Juan Jabloteh defender's head, took two touches and put the ball in off the post to John's left.
Toluca, which has five consecutive shutouts in all competitions since a 7-2 thrashing at the hands of domestic rival America in the Mexican Apertura on August 30, head to Honduras to take on Marathon on October 1, while San Juan Jabloteh will play for pride and hope for their first point of the Group Stage when it meets Major League Soccer side D.C. United at RFK Stadium a day earlier.
Video: Highlights, Toluca v San Juan Jabloteh
Toluca: - 12 A. Talavera, 3 F. Gamboa, 17 J. Olvera, 4 M. Almazan, 16 C. Galeana (Yellow 22), 27 V. Marín (13 M. Velasco 71st), 21 D. De La Torre, 15 A. Rios, 19 R. Nava, 18 I. Brizuela (22 M. Zarate 46th) (Yellow 57), 26 E. Trejo (7 N. Calderón 65th).
Coach: J. De La Torre.
Jabloteh: - 22 C. John, 23 D. Lawrence, 5 A. Hutchinson (15 T. Mulraine 38th) (Yellow 85), 6 N. Williams (Yellow 21), 12 E. John, 4 K. Murray, 29 J. Russell, 17 D. Jamerson (26 J. Johnson 65th), 30 L. Peltier, 21 A. Guerra (20 W. Plaza 89th), 13 J. Marcano.
Coach: E. Jean.
GP W D L F A D PTS
Toluca 4 4 0 0 14 1 +13 12
Marathón 3 2 0 1 6 9 -3 6
DC United 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Jabloteh 4 0 0 4 1 8 -7 0