Toluca ties Chivas, 1-1, in first leg

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Omar Bravo scored late in the second half for Chivas de Guadalajara, but Bruno Marioni answered 15 minutes from time for Toluca as the teams tied, 1-1, Thursday in the first leg of the Mexican league Apertura finals at Guadalajara.

The teams play the return leg on Sunday at 10 a.m. PST at Estadio Nemesio Diez, also known as "La Bombonera," with Toluca holding the upper hand and going for its second consecutive Apertura title, having defeated Monterrey in 2005.

Chivas, playing at home Thursday at Estadio Jalisco, took a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute when Bravo hammered home a header off the post from a cross by Ramon Morales after Bravo had freed himself from defender Paulo Da Silva.

Toluca's goal came in the 75th minute as the Red Devils used a series of long balls earlier in the second half to try to spread the Chivas defense.

On the scoring play, Vicente Sanchez got behind the defense on the left wing and took a pass from Antonio "Sihna" Naelson. Sanchez crossed to Marioni and Argentine striker redirected it into the net to tie it at 1-1.

In the 55th minute, Chivas nearly took a two-goal lead, but a shot by Morales on a free kick deflected off a Toluca wall and nearly found its way in as goalkeeper Hernan Cristante watched helplessly.

Early in the first half, Bravo had a breakaway, but Cristante broke it up inside the box, taking Bravo out of the play as Chivas players and fans protested vehemently for a penalty kick. Referee Gabriel Gomez, however, ruled that it was incidental contact in the flow of play.

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