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Club America thumped Atletico de San Luis 5-0 in the away leg of their Liga MX Apertura 2023 playoff semifinal encounter
Diego Valdes and Julian Quinones bagged braces, while Henry Martin added another goal to his tally
The second leg will be played in Club America’s playground this weekend, and the hosts are favorites to reach the final
Our pick: Club America to win.
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The unbeaten streak of Club America in Liga MX currently stands at 19 games. After a five-star performance in the last match, the 13-time league champions have won 14 and drawn five during this prolific unbeaten run. After gaining a massive advantage in the first leg, Club America may take the foot off the pedal in the second leg and conserve their energy for the finals.
Atletico de San Luis’ fairytale run in this season’s playoff is about to end. The experience of playing in their first-ever playoff semifinal did not end the way they wanted it to, but reaching this level will still be considered a major milestone. The club flew high after scraping past Champions League winners Club Leon and title contenders Monterrey before they were pulled back to the ground by Club America.
While the hosts may consider relaxing in the second leg, they cannot afford to be too relaxed and allow San Luis to capitalize on complacency. Club America has a strong home record, which they would like to maintain until the finals. Hence, the hosts are favorites to win the second leg.
Atletico de San Luis have only beaten Club America twice in their history, and both wins have come in Club America’s playground. In the Clausura 2022 season, goals from Unai Bilbao, Abel Hernandez, and German Berterame helped the visitors clinch a 3-2 win against Club America.
The second win was a tad insignificant because it came in the second leg of the Clausura 2023 playoff quarterfinal. Club America had won the first leg 3-1 at Estadio Alfonso Lastras Ramirez. Bilbao was on target again, with Leo scoring the other, as San Luis lost 4-3 on aggregate.
The semifinal fixture between Club America and San Luis is almost done and dusted after the first leg itself. The 13-time champions have not left any room for the underdogs to stage a comeback in the second leg.
This is exactly what Club America would have hoped for. After beating San Luis, they will face either the defending champions, Tigres UANL or their rivals, Pumas UNAM. Both teams will have tough opponents, and Club America will need momentum to back them for the title.
Playing in their own backyard with a five-goal away advantage is every team’s dream. The hosts will be quite relaxed, and coach Andre Jardine will look to rotate the squad in the second leg.
Top players like Quinones, Martin, and Valdes could be benched, while Richard Sanchez, Jonathan Rodriguez, and Leonardo Suarez could all be in the starting lineup.
After scoring five goals in four games during the regular season, Diego Valdes missed the final five league games as he was representing Chil in the World Cup Qualifiers.
When the playoffs started, the 29-year-old returned to the club but fired blanks in both legs against Leon in the last round. However, he was back on the scoresheet with a brace in the last match.
The Apertura 2023 season will be a memorable one for San Luis. During the initial phase of the season, they were sitting at the top of the table. After eventually securing a play-in spot, the club showed resilience against top teams to reach their first-ever Liga MX playoff semifinal.
However, Club America will not allow San Luis to reach their maiden playoff final because a miraculous comeback is impossible in the second leg. Overturning a five-goal deficit on enemy territory against the most prolific side in the league is an impossible task for the underdogs.
San Luis has struggled to get goals throughout the season via their strikers. The Brazilian duo of Vitinho and Leo have only contributed 12 goals to San Luis’ 36-goal season tally
In the past, Abel Hernandez and German Berterame made their presence felt in the final third, but Vitinho and Leo have been quite ineffective this season, which hurt them in the last match.
While San Luis was dominated by Club America in the first leg, the home side was still able to launch multiple attacks and cause severe concern for the visitors.
Sebastian Lamonge’s long-range effort skimmed the top of the bar when Club America were leading by just one goal, while Vitinho came close on two occasions, and had any of those efforts gone in, the outcome could have been different.
Teams: Club America vs. Atletico de San Luis
Location: Estadio Azteca
Time: Saturday, December 9 at 9:00 pm ET
How to watch: Univision, Telemundo, Fox Sports, ESPN, Vix and Sling TV
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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