The Águilas looked the better team for long stretches, despite finding themselves in a situation where their “home” leg was played 140 miles from their home stadium – the game was relocated to Querétaro’s La Corregidora due to state-of-emergency levels of pollution in and around Mexico City due to brush fires.
América pressed forward from the start and they looked to have won a penalty in just the 7th minute after Ángel Mena was called for a handball; however, after VAR review, the call was reversed and play continued without a PK.
They continued to create numerous chances, most of them coming from attacks down the left wing, but the breakthrough wouldn’t come. Nicolás Castillo sent two opportunities just off target, one high and the other wide, as the score remained 0-0.
León came out attacking in the second half, and Luis Montes had an early chance after being played in by Mena, but Paul Aguilar made an important tackle. Then, at the other end, it looked like Renato Ibarra would give the Águilas the lead, but Andrés Mosquera got back to head the ball off the line with Cota beaten.
León continued to absorb América’s pressure and then, in the 70th minute, they struck. Substitute Rubens Sambueza got free on the left, drove into the box, and sent a cross to the far post where José Juan Macías swept it home to make it 0-1 for La Fiera.
América still had chances to tie it, but Cota made a pair of saves to keep León in front. The Águilas did get the ball in the net in the 87th minute, but the would-be goal was disallowed for offside as León held on for the victory.
With the 0-1 win, León will advance to the final with a win, a draw, or a 0-1 loss in Sunday’s second leg, while América must score at least two goals and win in order to move on.