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Club América and Puebla finished level on points in the league season and drew in the first leg of the quarter finals. The result was the same as their meeting in the first game week of the Clausura season.
Club America were the dominant side in the first leg, and that is expected to continue in the second leg too. They did not have the majority of the ball, but they enjoyed attacking and had 12 shots at goal when they did. If it was not for Puebla’s solid defending, Ortiz’s side would have run away with the game and sealed their place in the semi-final.
Fernando Aristeguieta was the first to score, and it came 10 minutes after the restart. Puebla had managed just one shot on goal in the first half but managed to score with their second. Club America were made to work hard for their comeback and had to wait until the 80th minute for their goal. Sebastián Cáceres got them level on terms, and the game ended 1-1 with both teams failing to get behind each other.
The referee was kept busy by the players throughout the game, and he had to dish out 9 yellow cards. Puebla players got 7 of those cards, while Club America got one in each half. Luckily for the two managers, none of the players picked up a second booking and therefore are not suspended for the second leg.
Club America have not lost a competitive game since their 2-1 loss to Monterrey at the start of March. Álvaro Fidalgo had scored for the away side Joel Campbell, and Rogelio Funes Mori scored in each half to hand the home team the win. That was the first game since they sacked Santiago Solari, and Fernando Ortiz has done a fantastic job of turning things around.
Club America picked up their first points under their interim manager with a goalless draw against Guadalajara. The solid defense saw the foundation laid for their epic run to the end of the season, and Ortiz worked his magic.
Roger Martínez, Diego Valdés, and Alejandro Zendejas scored inside the first 18 minutes of the game against Toluca, and Club America had got their first win under the interim manager. Diego Valdés helped them register their second win on the trot with a goal in the final minute of injury time against Club Necaxa. That was the game’s only goal, and it ended 1-0 in favor of Ortiz’s side.
In the next game, Alejandro Zendejas was back on the scoresheet as Club America picked up a 3-0 win over Juarez FC. Federico Viñas and Diego Valdés added the two other goals, and they were once again dominant in the game.
Facundo Ferreyra’s own goal handed them the lead over Club Tijuana in the next game before Alejandro Zendejas and Álvaro Fidalgo got on the scoresheet. Joaquín Montecinos scored the loen goal for Tijuana and the match ended 3-1.
Richard Sánchez scored early in the next game, and Club Leon made things worse for themselves with José Rodríguez and Victor Dávila getting sent off before the hour mark. Zendejas was on the scoresheet once again before William Tesillo got Leon’s 3rd red card of the game, and they ended up losing 2-0.
Club America went on to stun 2nd placed Tigres UNAL in the penultimate game of the season. Diego Valdés and Henry Martín got the goals to help them register a comfortable 2-0 win.
They needed a win to have a chance of making it to the top 4 on the final day but managed to get there with a draw after Puebla lost. The goalless draw against Cruz Azul on the last day saw them finish 4th and qualify for the quarterfinals directly in place of their current opponents.
Daniel Aguilar came off injured in the second half of the quarterfinal’s first leg and is a doubt for this game. Apart from that, Fernando Ortiz has no injury or suspension headache for the second leg.
Puebla had one of the worst endings to the league season. They needed just one point from their last three matches to finish in the top 4 but ended up losing all of them.
They were up against Pachuca first and were not expected to pick up the win. They did well to hold the league leaders for the majority of the game after Víctor Guzmán scored the lone goal in the 11th minute. Puebla now needed a point from two games and had relatively easy opponents.
However, Club Necaxa also managed to stun the 3rd placed side and steal all three points. Milton Giménez scored early in the second half to get them the lead, and Puebla thought they had got a penalty in the minute of injury time. But VAR overruled the decision and they now had just one game to salvage the place in the top 4.
They were up against Mazatlan, a side desperate for a win to get into the playoff spots. However, the home side were in top form and had picked up wins in their last three matches.
Oswaldo Alanís handed Mazatlan the lead two minutes into the second half and Puebla made things worse for themselves by handing their opponents a penalty three minutes later. Marco Fabián made no mistake and made it 2-0 to the home side.
Puebla failed to get past the home defense until the 94th minute when Pablo Parra got on the scoresheet. But it was too little too late, and they had missed their chance of finishing in the top 4 despite being there for the majority of the season.
They did not have it easy in the playoffs too as they were up against Mazatlan again. Diego de Buen and Juan Pablo Segovia handed Puebla a 2-0 lead inside 14 minutes, but Brian Rubio pulled one back before halftime for Mazatlan. Things got worse as Martín Barragán was sent off for the home side in the 85th minute and Néstor Vidrio made the most of it by getting the equalizer in the 91st minute.
Fortunately for them, Antony Silva made two crucial saves in the shootout to help Puebla win 3-1 after Israel Reyes, Diego de Buen and Federico Mancuello converted their chances.
Martín Barragán was suspended for the first leg after picking up a red card in the playoffs. He is back now but will likely be on the bench for the second leg. Federico Viñas and Richard Sánchez are a doubt for the second leg after they went off injured in the first half.
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|Club América vs Puebla Information|
|Teams||Pachuca vs Atlético de San Luis|
|Time||Saturday, May 14 at 7pm 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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