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Club América does not have the best of records against Cruz Azul in recent meetings. The home side are winless in the last seven meetings and have lost five of those games.
The most recent meeting was back in November last year, and that saw Cruz Azul picking up a 2-1 win. Jonathan Rodríguez scored deep into injury time to seal the win from the spot after Emanuel Aguilera was sent off. Roberto Alvarado had given Azul the lead before Federico Viñas pulled Club America level right after the first halftime break.
The last time Club America won in this fixture was back in 2019. They picked up a 3-1 win over Cruz Azul after going down 1-0 via Milton Caraglio’s penalty. An own goal from Igor Lichnovsky brought them level, and then a brace from Roger Martínez was enough for them to seal the win.
This time around, they’re on the back of a sensational comeback run in a season during which they’ve graced the very pits of the table, had players constantly sent off and made a change in manager midway through the season. Having overcome all that, they’ve gone past Cruz Azul in the table to 5th place and could well end up finishing 3rd before the playoffs – which would mean automatic quarter-final qualification. With five wins in a row coming into this game, we wouldn’t bet against them closing off the league stage on a high in front of their fans.
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After a poor start to the season, Club America are set to finish as one of the best in the league. They had picked up just one win from their opening 10 games but are now on a six-match winning run.
With five losses and four draws in their opening ten matches, Club America were struggling with just 7 points.
The draw to Guadalajara, just days after Santiago Solari was sacked, turned out to be the turning point in their season. Fernando Ortiz has joined on an interim basis but has done a fantastic job taking the club back to the top echelons of the league.
The interim manager got his first win of the season against Toluca, and it was an impressive one. Club America were 3-0 up inside the first 18 minutes of the game, and that was enough for them to seal the three points. Roger Martínez, Diego Valdés, and Alejandro Zendejas got on the scoresheet, and they were hunting for more but failed to get behind the Toluca defense. The opponents could not muster a single shot on target asn the home side’s goalkeeper was not needed the whole game.
Diego Valdés was on the scoresheet again in the very next game, and that too in the dying minutes of the match. The midfielder scored in the 94th minute of the game to hand the away side a 1-0 win and boost their confidence more.
Things just kept getting better for Club America, and they got their third win on the bounce against Juarez. Alejandro Zendejas, Federico Viñas, and Diego Valdés were the goalscorers against the bottom-placed side, and Ortiz’s men had found their mojo. The third win on the bounce also came with their fourth clean sheet in a row!
The hopes of sealing a playoff spot were visible, and the players were ready to fight for their place in the starting XI. Alejandro Zendejas got on the scoresheet again and Álvaro Fidalgo got the other to seal a 3-1 win over Club Tijuana.
Alejandro Zendejas continued his top form against Club Leon as well after Richard Sánchez gave Club America the lead over Club Leon. The away side had three players sent off, and Ortiz’s side registered a comfortable 2-0 win.
Tigres UNAL were up next for Club America, and it was yet another win for Ortiz’s men. Diego Valdés was on the scoresheet once again before Henry Martín made it 2-0 in injury time to seal the win.
A win this weekend would see Club America finish with 28 points – that’s two more than 3rd placed Puebla and 4th placed Atlas have right now. Should one of the two teams drop points, Ortiz would have taken the side from the rock bottom of the table to top 4 in just under two months.
Cruz Azul were on course to finish in the top 4 this season but have slipped up. They have lost two of their last three games, and it has made things difficult for them in terms of an automatic quarter-finals spot.
Azul started their season in fine form with just one loss and a draw in their opening six matches. Those four wins had them around the top of the table, and they were the early favorites to finish in the top 4 and earn a place in the quarterfinals. However, the CONCACAF Champions league seems to have played a big factor in their form, and they started dropping points frequently once it became part of their schedule.
The good thing for Azul is that they never went on a bad run of form despite their poor performances. They managed to pick up points often, and that has helped them stay around the top 4. They are still in touching distance and could earn an automatic quarterfinals spot if they win on the final day.
Their last 5 league games have been topsy-turvy, and that is precisely how their season has gone. After the loss to Pachuca, Juan Maximo Reynoso needed a strong performance from his players, and they delivered.
Azul were up against Atlas, and they managed to edge out a result. Santiago Giménez scored the lone goal of the game, and that was enough for them to hold the opponents at bay despite not having just over 33% of the possession in the game.
After beating the side chasing the top 4, Azul were favorites to beat Mazatlan – a team that had picked up just 2 wins and were near the bottom of the table. Things didn’t go as planned asn the game ended in a draw.
Mazatlan took the unlikely lead in the first half through Roberto Meraz, but Ángel Romero got the away side level on terms seconds after the halftime break. Both sides had 14 shots on goal and 4 on target, but were unable to get another goal and run away with three points.
Cristian Calderón scored the lone goal of the game as Guadalajara defeated Cruz Azul, but they managed to get a win in the next game. Against Queretaro, Pablo Aguilar scored the winning goal in the 74th minute and helped the team move to 4th in the table.
However, their stay in the top 4 was short-lived as they were beaten 1-0 by Atletico de San Luis last weekend. The loss saw them slip to sixth in the league table and in danger of falling further behind.
However, if they pick up a win on the final day of the season, and one of Atlas or Puebla loses, Azul could still manage to sneak into the top 4 and earn an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.
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|Club América vs Cruz Azul Information|
|Teams||Club América vs Cruz Azul|
|Time||Saturday, April 30 at 10pm EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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