Cruz Azul looked to give their home fans something to cheer about after a disappointing season, and Christian Giménez nearly gave La Máquina the lead with a dangerous shot from distance.
However, when the breakthrough came it was for the visitors. In the 21st minute, John Stefan Medina sent a beautiful ball into the space behind the defense, where Víctor Guzmán appeared to bring the ball down on his chest and then fire it into the net to make it 0-1.
But the Tuzos’ lead lasted just two minutes before “Chaco” Giménez headed home a corner kick to make it 1-1 in the 23rd.
Franco Jara came close to restoring Pachuca’s advantage, but Jesús Corona was able to tip his shot over the bar.
In the second half, Pachuca took control of the ball but despite their possession they couldn’t break down Cruz Azul’s well-organized defense. As the half wore on, La Máquina grew in confidence and soon they were testing Óscar Pérez.
In the 74th minute, Joao Rojas sent a cross in for Jorge Benítez, who out-jumped his defender and headed the ball past Pérez to give Cruz Azul the 2-1 lead.
Pachuca threw numbers forward in the closing stages as they looked for an equalizer, but the final touch was lacking. Tempers flared repeatedly towards the end of the game, culminating in Jonathan Cristaldo earning a straight red card in stoppage time for a nasty tackle on Hirving Lozano.
With the 2-1 win, Cruz Azul reaches 19 points while Pachuca remains on 30.
Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Jesús García, Francisco Rodríguez, Enzo Roco, Julio César Domínguez, Richard Ruiz (Aldo Ramírez 64′), Francisco Silva, Christian Giménez (Rosario Cota 71′), Rafael Baca, Joao Rojas (Jonathan Cristaldo 87′), Jorge Benítez.
Pachuca: Óscar Pérez, John Stefan Medina, Omar González, Óscar Murillo, Erick Aguirre, Víctor Guzmán (Juan José Calero 75′), Jorge Hernández (Rodolfo Pizarro 70′), Erick Gutiérrez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Franco Jara (Rubén Botta 62′), Hirving Lozano.