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Odds taken from Caesars.
Club America to win or draw, both teams to score
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Club América and Pachuca have won twice each in their last five meetings. When the two sides met earlier in the league season, back in February, Pachuca won 3-1.
Nicolás Ibáñez and Avilés Hurtado handed Pachuca the lead in the first half before Henry Martín pulled one back for the home side. Club America were looking to go for the equalizer when Víctor Guzmán made it 3-1 in the 75th minute to help the away side pick up all three points.
Pachuca dominated possession, but it was Club America who managed to get more shots away. They had 18 attempts at goal, but only five on target compared to the six Pachuca had on target.
The last time Club America defeated Pachuca was in the Clausura knockout stages last year, but they were out on the away goals rule. The match ended 5-5 after the two legs, but Pachuca had managed to get 2 goals in the 2nd leg, despite having just 38% possession and just three shots on target.
But the Club America right now and the Club America of last year – or even just earlier in this Clausura season – are a different beast. They are, by far, the best team on form, confidence, and momentum in the Liga MX right now thanks to their superlative comeback run in the second half of the season; at home, in what could be their last game in front of their fans this season, they will be a difficult team to beat. They are slight favorites in our books right now, but we expect Pachuca to make it difficult and both teams to get on the score sheet.
Just over two months ago, Club America were rock bottom of the table and were given no chance of making the playoffs. They proved everyone wrong by going on a nine-match unbeaten streak and finishing in the top 4 – making it to the playoffs through automatic qualification in that process.
The sacking of Santiago Solari proved to be the turning point in their campaign as they’ve lost just once since his departure. The loss came in the game right after he was sacked, and Fernando Ortiz did not have enough time to get his players to understand his tactics.
Ortiz started off with his style of play in a goalless draw at Guadalajara, and there was no turning back. Club America went on a stunning six-match winning streak and catapulted from the bottom into the top 4 race. They defeated Toluca, Club Necaxa, Jurarz, Club Tijuana, Club Leon, and Tigres UNAL in that six-match winning run and conceded just once in those matches while scoring 14 times.
They drew their final league game of the season against Cruz Azul, a game which they could have won and finished 3rd in the league after Atlas had slipped up badly and dropped seven points in their last four matches. With 26 points, Club America finished level with Puebla, Monterrey, and Guadalajara but had a better goal difference and thus finished 4th in the table.
In the quarter-finals, they were up against Puebla and had to fight hard away from home in the first leg. Fernando Aristeguieta scored the opening goal of the game to hand Puebla the lead in the 55th minute. Club America had to wait until the 80th minute to pull level, and it was Sebastián Cáceres who got them the much-needed goal. Despite having double the chances of Puebla, Club America could not muster another goal and went into the second leg level.
In the second leg, Henry Martín scored three minutes before half time to give Club America the lead, but Puebla were determined to get one back before the break. Israel Reyes got them the equalizer in injury time, and the game was level again at halftime.
Club America were handed a lifeline when they got a penalty in the 52nd minute. After much delay by VAR, the penalty was awarded but saved. More drama unfolded, and the kick was controversially retaken, and this time Diego Valdes made no mistake and made it 2-1.
Alejandro Zendejas sealed the win and helped Club America go 4-2 on aggregate in the 73rd minute, and Puebla managed to pull just one goal back – that too with the last kick of the game. Fernando Aristeguieta scored from the spot, but the game was done, and Club America were in the semi-final by then.
No Club America player is out injured or suspended for the semi-final clash against Pachuca.
Pachuca have shown that time and again that they remain the team to beat. This season, the Clausura league table toppers have defeated every other side that has qualified for the knockout stages and only dropped points to five of the six teams that failed to make it.
Pachuca faced Atletico de San Luis in the quarter-finals and managed to edge out a 5-4 win on aggregate. Nicolás Ibáñez handed the league leaders the lead inside 5 minutes of the tie but they were pulled back by Germán Berterame when he converted from the spot in the 25th minute. The teams went in for the half-time break with the scoreline at 1-1, and the second half did not show promise of another goal.
Nicolás Ibáñez got on the scoresheet again for Pachuca in the 77th minute, and the game looked set to end with the 2-1 scoreline. However, Juan Manuel Sanabria had other plans and managed to get the equalizer in the 94th minute of the game. Atletico de San Luis fought back hard after going down twice in the first leg and were confident of doing the same in the second.
After failing to get a single shot on target in the first half of the second leg, San Luis were made to pay by Nicolás Ibáñez once again. The Pachuca striker scored right after the break, but the lead lasted just 5 minutes as Ricardo Chávez leveled things up.
Pachuca were dominating possession, and Gustavo Cabral got them the much-needed second goal midway through the second half. He scored in the 69th minute, and San Luis knew they needed two goals in 20 minutes to go through to the semi-finals. Víctor Guzmán had the chance to seal a big win for Los Tuzos in the 79th minute, but his penalty hit the woodwork, and Atletico still had time to get the two goals they needed.
They managed to get back on level terms on the scoreline in the 93rd minute via Abel Hernández and were chasing the much needed third goal to go through. If the scoreline had remained the same, Pachuca were qualifying as they had a higher seeding after the reclassification round.
Nicolás Ibáñez popped up once again with a vital goal to ensure that Pachuca won the tie and did not need their seeding or any kind of coefficient to determine their qualification. The Argentine striker has been in top form this season and with four goals in his two games against Atletico de San Luis, he will be confident of leading Pachuca’s attack against Club America and get them through to the final.
Pachuca will have the whole squad at their disposal going into their semi-final first leg at Club America.
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|Club América vs Pachuca Information|
|Teams||Club América vs Pachuca|
|Time||Thursday, May 19 at 9pm EST|
|How to Watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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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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