Fault! The file name is not specified. Cruz Azul has left the MX League play-offs in an excellent but familiar way. Velazquez/Getty Pictures Manual
MEXICO CITY — There was little reason to believe Cruz Azul wouldn’t prepare to meet Leon in the MX League final Monday morning. You can be sure that more than one journalist has started and even submitted their preview of Leon vs Cruz-Azul.
Last Thursday, La Makina defeated UNAM rivals Pumas 4-0 in Mexico City. The Puma’s had less than 1% chance of reaching the finals at Five ThirtyEight.
– MX League coverage on ESPN Deportes
– ESPN FC daily feed on ESPN+.
This means that Sunday has not yet marked the last Cruzzulead.
The verb cruzazulear is increasingly used in Mexican Spanish, especially to spoil a winning situation or to make something fail when everything seems to be going well.
Kruz Azul is one of the four biggest clubs in the MX division, but hasn’t held the title in the league since 1997. Since then, they’ve come in second six times. The last second stage of Klausura 2013 was the most painful. After 88 minutes of play, La Maquina beat their city rivals Club America 2-0 in the Azteca Stadium. American goalkeeper Moises Muñoz scored the equalizer, while Las Agilas took the penalty.
This season’s striker is fast and when Cruz-Asul and Mexico midfielder Luis Romo were asked to send the message to the fans in a post-match flash interview after a dominant performance in their opening game against Pumas, he told them to be happy. Outside the club, more than one expert rejected the idea that Cruz Azul had finally lifted the curse of the title in the crazy year 2020 in some appropriate way. It was also noted that the last team Cruz Azul won the title, they were against this season’s finalist, Leon.
Instead, Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario was another blow.
In the fourth minute Argentine Juan Dinenno Pumas attacked to at least give some hope, but he also had the feeling that Cruz Azul was in the hands of their owners.
Unusually, Cruz-Azul director Robert Siboldi hired an A from behind to try to prevent an early attack by the Pumas. But it seemed against intuition, because if only one goal was missing, it meant that the cougar needed six goals to reach the final. And this team, Cruz Azul, has won more MX League games (18) than any other team except Leon (21) in 2020 and scored more goals (57) than any other team except Leon (68).
Fault! The file name is not specified. The Puma threw himself on Cruz-Azul in advance to make up the shortfall of four men. Velazquez/Getty Pictures Manual
A four-legged cushion should have made the series comfortable, but perhaps sitting in the back wasn’t the right option. And the inclusion in the goal of 23-year-old Sebastian Churado, who made his club debut instead of the wounded Jesus crown, is disturbing.
As Dinenno in the 37th. When Carlos Gonzalez finished second in the second round and third four minutes later, the miracle was within reach. This feeling was only reinforced when Cruz Azul’s sentence was cancelled in the meantime, not because of a real offence, but because of the slightest escalation in offside by the VAR.
La Maquina controlled most of the second half, with the players of the Pumas tired but with very few matches (which ended with expected goals (xG) of 0.39 and only one penalty), while star striker Jonathan Rodriguez isolated himself.
When it comes to scoring a single goal and Cruz Azul starts to sit lower, the home side only needs one chance. When he saw Cruz Azul players Rafa Baka and Yoshie Yotun arguing with them a quarter of an hour before the game, he pointed to the tension and didn’t look good.
Midfielder Juan Pablo Vigon was an unlikely hero, but he seemed to keep the game of the Pumas and even the season, in which the team lost only twice in 21 games, to a draw. Vigon had a bandage on his forehead after he cut off his eyebrow when he hit Gonzalez on the head in a euphoric target feast. And the indigenous people of Guadalajara were repeatedly troubled in the second half of the year. Other coaches, with the exception of Andres Lilini of the Pumas, would probably have dropped it.
However, 29-year-old Vigon was in the right place at the right time to control Alan Mozo’s ball in the penalty area, and with one minute to go he passed Jurado.
The Puma players cried at the final whistle. Their names will go down in history, forever linked to one of the most sensational comebacks in the history of the MX League.
Those who said they wouldn’t watch the game if they missed something good, told Dinenno to TUDN, referring to the criticism the team received after the first game.
Don’t forget that a Puma player is of a different breed, and because he is of a different breed anything can happen, said Lilini of Argentina at a press conference after the match.
As far as Cruz-Azul is concerned, the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League will be played against LAFK on 16 March. December in Florida. But it’s hard to imagine how the team will recover from yet another devastating blow.
I feel like I’m abandoning the fans, but we have to move forward, [football] is taking his revenge, said the coach Cruz-Azula Siboldi at his post-match press conference. Now that we’re going to the [CONCACAF] Champions League [to try] to get a ticket for the Club World Cup, I don’t think we had too much faith in that.
The appearance of the Champions League and the Club World Cup would be nice, but it will be a long time before the last Cruzzuleade is forgotten.
The ageing Leon enters the deserved final.
On the other hand, the draw is no secret: Club Leon has been the most exciting team in the MX League in recent years, at least for those who like attacks and are obsessed with football. However, during this period, several results of the major home games worry about how Nacho Ambriz would deal with this major event. The most obvious is Morelia’s quarterfinal defeat in Aperture 2019 and a painful defeat in California against LAFK in the CONCACAF Champions League earlier this year, when Leon was sent away for the second round of the 16th edition of the CONCACAF Champions League. The playoffs lost 3-0 and 2-0 in a home game.
Leon was a clear favorite in the quarterfinals against Civas, but Guadalajara came out with confidence after beating Club America in the quarterfinals, and suddenly Civas brought back players like Jose Juan Masias and Alexis Vega after an injury.
A 1-1 tie in the first game meant that the second game was still on the table, but Ambriz’s approach changed for a second game at Leone Stadium. The manager took care of two midfielders, Pedro Aquino and Ivan Rodriguez, La Fiera had only 42% of the shares – a drop from an average of 62% in the regular season – and Joel Campbell played himself, no doubt partly because of his pace.
It was a slightly different Leon, who gave little in defense, invited Civas, but only one shot on goal in the 90th minute.
Campbell found the only goal of the first half after Fernando Navarro scored the only goal of the first half when the Costa Rican club’s Angel Men escaped the nets. However, while Leon was applauded for his offensive play and stunning fluidity at the end of the period, it was Rodolfo Cat’s goalkeeper and defense who saw Leon cross the line and reach the final.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Leon has made the necessary adjustments to pass Chivas. Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images
Civas Vuchetich is wrong?
Coach Viktor Manuel Vuchetich has sometimes been accused of caution this season, but that can’t be said of Saturday’s game.
Chivas’ idea for the second match against Leon was relatively simple: go out and attack. Vuchetić started with Masias, Vega, Isaac Brisuela, Christian Calderon and Uriel Antuna and only one real central midfielder in Jesus Molina.
Another day, Leon may have been surprised by the unexpected recording of so many offensive talents, but Umbriz urged the team to be careful in their selection. And Civas recovered Masias and Vega from the injury, Calderon started his third game eight days after not playing regularly this season, and Brisuela returned from KOVID-19.
Everything had to fall into place for Civas and as soon as Leon had an 18-minute lead, Guadalajara struggled to recover.
Vuchetich probably regrets that he didn’t leave Vega, Masias (and even Brizuela) on the couch for the second time. Eventually the same tactic worked in the first half, and Chivas evened out in the second half.
The series also served as a reminder that Leon is now a few steps ahead of Chivas. Umbriz has been on post for two years, while Vuchetiz has been in Guadalajara for less than four months. There’s better chemistry and understanding.
The semi-final in Chivas predicts a lot of good for the future. The team has a lot of talent and if Vuchetich gets three new signatures, which he needs, and it will be possible to eliminate the ghosts that plagued the club in 2020, there is reason to believe that Chivas will fight for the title in 2021.