The historical Maracana hushed into silence after Leon midfielder Carlos “El Gullit” Pena converted the goal that eliminated Flamengo from the Copa Libertadores.
It wasnt exactly as memorable as the Maracanazo of 1950, but the sting of the defeat definitely resonated with big time fans of Flamengo. Leon looked the underdogs coming into the encounter. Few expected La Fiera to survive the chaos of the Maracana. It was a tight contest but in the end goals from Franco Arizala, Mauro Boselli, and Pena pushed Leon past the Brazillian side for a 3-2 victory.
Now, Leon is set to face Bolivar in the knockout stage of the tournament.
Transmitting Libertadores success to the Liga MX hasnt been quite as easy for Leon.
The champions of Mexico have been quite average in the league this season. Leon has not been as feisty as it was last season when it completely dominated Liga MX opposition. Currently standing in 11th place La Fiera is currently outside of Liguilla territory.
Leon must get back to its winning ways.
La Fiera squandered away a much needed 3 points last week against Queretaro and is now forced to bounce back against los Diablos Rojos de Toluca.
Leon must turn to the beast for results.
Pena continues to be the driving force for La Fiera with 5 goals and an assist this season. Pena must revive the beast in him. The attitude he displayed last season was Leons greatest asset. With Pena in top form Leon conquered the league.
Pena continues to be a tremendous asset for club and national team. But unfortunately, Pena has looked in and out of form this year.
For example, in Mexico’s friendly against the United States, “Gullit” didnt look so “Gullit” against the Stars and Stripes. Pena was tossed around left and right and gave the ball away cheaply on many occasions. It was the first time Gullit looked sub-par with El Tri. But moments like the Copa Libertadores are simple reminders of his undisputed quality. So the question stands, will Gullit be the same beast he is capable of being in Brazil 2014?
Leon depends on his quality and El Tri anxiously awaits it.
by Pedro Reyes