TORREON, Mexico – Santos Laguna midfielder Javier Cortes said his team was mentally prepared to beat Toluca this week in the first leg of the Liga MX Clausura tournament final.
“We have to figure out a way to win so we can arrive relaxed in Toluca, (since) the home team is strong and we have to be aware of that,” Cortes, a member of the Mexican national team that won the gold medal at the 2012 London Games, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Cortes struggled to get into Uruguayan coach Dante Siboldi’s starting line-up during the tournament, but he came through in the semifinals against America.
“The most beautiful thing is that I’m appearing in the playoffs. I try to give 100 percent and capitalize on opportunities,” Cortes said.
On Sunday, Santos Laguna traveled to Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium and tied America 2-2, advancing to the Mexican league final.
Santos Laguna’s win set up a showdown with Toluca for the Liga MX Clausura tournament title.
Santos Laguna will host Toluca for the first leg of the final on Thursday.
Cape Verdean Djaniny Tavares, the league’s top scorer, missed the match, but Siboldi expects to have him back for the final.
Toluca, for its part, blew out Tijuana 4-1 Sunday in the semifinals on three goals and an assist from Colombian Fernando Uribe.
“We worked for this and we’re in the final, you have to win the final, we have that in our heads, do what it takes to win and give 100 percent on the field,” Cortes said.