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Puebla have found it hard to beat Club América and have lost in four of their last five meetings against them. The other game ended in a draw, and the last time they won in this fixture was back in 2018.
Club América have been on a brilliant run and will be confident of getting the result they need in the first leg of the quarter-final this week. They went on a seven-match unbeaten streak at the end of the league season to clinch their direct place in the final 8.
Puebla were one of the favorites for the top spot when the season started, but their form dropped drastically at the very end. They needed just one point from their last three matches to finish in the top 4 but lost all of them.
The last time these two sides faced each other was back in January, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Salvador Reyes scored in the very first minute of the game for Club America, but they were down to 10-men before halftime. Roger Martínez got booked twice in 4 minutes, and he was given the marching order.
Puebla made the most of it and scored in the first half’s added time. Maximiliano Araújo got on the scoresheet, but they could not push for more in the second half despite Club America sitting deep in their box.
Puebla started the season with a nine-match unbeaten streak and were one of the favorites to finish on top of the table. They had won six of those games with only Juarez, Atlas, and Club America managing to get a point against them.
After collecting 21 points from their opening nine matches, Puebla were full of confidence and took things a bit too lightly against Atletico San Luis, who were struggling in the league. The opponents stunned the league leaders and managed to hand them their first loss of the season.
Juan Manuel Sanabria gave San Luis an unlikely lead in the first half, and Puebla were made to work for their equalizer. Martín Barragán was sent on late in the game and he got them level in the 88th minute. However, they could not get a point from the match as Efrain Orona scored with the final kick of the game to give San Luis a shock win. Nicolas Larcamon’s men were stunned beyond belief, and they did not recover.
Santos Laguna, another side struggling in the league were next, and Puebla failed to beat them despite taking a two-goal lead in the second half. Israel Reyes and Martín Barragán made it 2-0 in the 74th minute before Eduardo Aguirre and Leonardo Suárez scored to make it 2-2 with 10 minutes left. Both teams could not get another goal, and the match ended 2-2.
Their form took a turn for the worse when they faced Toluca next as they ended up losing 2-1 to another side who were unable to get results going their way. Kevin Castañeda and Valber Huerta scored for the home side, while Israel Reyes scored the lone goal for Puebla in the 2-1 defeat.
Pumas UNAM made it even worse when they managed to come from 2-0 down to take a point away from Puebla. The 2-2 draw saw their top 2 chances fade away, but they still had enough time to finish in the top 4.
The winless streak finally came to an end against Club Leon despite Pablo Parra and Alberto Herrera getting sent off for Puebla. Fernando Aristeguieta scored the lone goal of the game, and they managed to collect three points for the first time in five games.
They needed just one point from the remaining three games to seal their top 4 spot, but disaster struck, and they ended up losing all matches. Pachuca, Club Necaxa, and Mazatlan defeated them with ease, and Puebla finished 5th in the league table and lost out on automatic qualification to the quarterfinals.
In the playoffs, they were up against Mazatlan, the side who had beat them 2-1 on the final day of the season. It seemed like they had found their feet finally when Diego de Buen and Juan Pablo Segovia handed Puebla a 2-0 lead inside 14 minutes, but the opponents fought back and made it 2-2 with a goal in the 91st minute. Fortunately for them, they managed to win 3-1 in the penalty shootout and made it to the quarter-final.
Club América did not have the best of starts to the Clausura season and won just one of their opening 10 matches. They had picked up just seven points from those matches, and their chances of making it to the playoffs were slim.
However, they turned things around in the second half of the season and stunned everyone by finishing in the top 4. Club America won six of their final seven matches and conceded just twice during that time – a stark contrast to earlier in the season under Santiago Solari, who was sacked to be replaced by Fernando Ortiz after their dreadful start.
The change in fortune started with a dominating 3-0 win over Toluca. Roger Martínez, Diego Valdés, and Alejandro Zendejas scored inside the first 18 minutes, and they managed to win the game comfortably.
Fernando Ortiz’s men had to fight hard for the next win, and they were rewarded in the 91st minute. Diego Valdés found the back of the net and that was the lone goal of the game.
They made it three wins in three with a dominating display against bottom side Juarez. Alejandro Zendejas and Federico Viñas scored in the first half and Diego Valdés sealed the 3-0 win with the final kick of the game.
Club Tijuana were determined to spoil the party for Ortiz’s players but an own goal from Facundo Ferreyra damped their hopes. Alejandro Zendejas made it 2-0 for Club America inside the first 10 minutes but Joaquín Montecinos pulled one back in the first half. Álvaro Fidalgo sealed the win from the spot in the 84th minute and the winning run continued.
Alejandro Zendejas kept his goal-scoring run going against Club Leon while Richard Sánchez added another to help Club America register a 2-0 win. The away side made things easier for them as three players were sent off in the game.
From the bottom four, Club America had a chance to finish in the top four now but they had a tough task ahead. They needed to beat Tigres, who were in the top 2, in the penultimate game of the season. Diego Valdés and Henry Martín scored in the game to help them get close to the top four and keep the fairytale going.
Club America needed at least a draw on the final day to do the impossible and finish in the top four. Cruz Azul proved to be a tough opponent for them but they still managed to get the point and finish the league stage with a seven-match unbeaten streak.
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|Puebla vs Club America Information|
|Teams||Puebla vs Club América|
|Time||Wednesday, May 11 at 10.05pm 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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