Category Archives: Apertura 2014

Cruz Azul vs Auckland City – Club World Cup

club world cup logoCruz Azul was unable to match Mexico’s best result in a Club World Cup, falling to Auckland City on penalties after a 1-1 draw. With that result, Auckland City makes history, earning their best-ever result in their sixth appearance in the tournament. No Oceania representative had ever finished higher than fifth before now.

As for Cruz Azul, they end their first participation in the Club World Cup with a fourth-place finish, tying the results of América (2006), Pachuca (2008) and Atlante (2009).

Auckland was the revelation of the tournament, with the New Zealanders upsetting Moghreb Tétouan in the play-in round and ES Sétif in the quarterfinals, before taking CONMEBOL champion San Lorenzo to overtime in the semifinals.

Their Cinderlla story continued in the third-place match, where they took the lead against the favored Cruz Azul. Ryan de Vries gave Auckland the lead just before halftime when he escaped down the right to chase down a hopeful-looking long ball. De Vries beat “Cata” Domínguez to the ball, entered the box, and shot past Jesús Corona from close range to make it 1-0 for the Kiwis.

Cruz Azul looked for an immediate response in the second half, and Mauro Formica had the ball in the back of the net in the 53rd minute, but his header was disallowed for offside. La Máquina continued to press, though, and they got their reward moments later: in the 56th minute, Joao Rojas tied the game at 1-1. His initial header hit a defender, but the ball rebounded to his feet and he put the chance away.

Neither team was able to find a second, despite the best efforts of both sides. Cruz Azul’s chances included a scissor kick from Marco Fabián in the 61st and a header from Formica in the 83rd, while Jesús Corona was forced into a great save in the 73rd to prevent Auckland from retaking the lead.

When referee Pedro Proenca brought the game to a close still tied at 1-1, the game went to penalty kicks to determine the winner (there was no overtime period).

In the penalty shootout, Tim Payne, Darren White, James Pritchett and Sanni Issa scored for Auckland with John Irving hitting the crossbar, while Christian Giménez and Francisco Rodríguez scored for Cruz Azul while Mauro Formica skied his attempt and Ismael Valadéz had his saved. The final tally was 4-2 in favor of Auckland, who captured third place.

Highlights

Lineups

Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Gerardo Flores, Julio César Domínguez, Francisco Rodríguez, Xavier Baez (Christian Giménez 46′), Joao Rojas, Marco Fabián (Mariano Pavone 85′), Gerardo Torrado, Alejandro Vela, Mauro Formica, Ismael Valadéz. 

Auckland: Jacob Spoonley, Takuya Iwata, John Irving, Ivan Vicelich (Cameron Lindsay 80′), Tim Payne, Darren White, Sam Burfoot (Sanni Issa 57′), Mario Bilem, Emiliano Tade (James Pritchett 90′), Fabrizio Tavano, Ryan de Vries. 

FIFA Club World Cup: Final and Third-Place Match

club world cup logoThe 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco concludes this weekend with the final and the third-place match.

UEFA champion Real Madrid advanced to the final after a 4-0 win against CONCACAF champion Cruz Azul. They will face CONMEBOL champion San Lorenzo, who reached the final after a 2-1 win against Oceania champion Auckland City FC in overtime after a 1-1 draw in regulation.

The two losing semifinalists, Cruz Azul and Auckland, will face off in the third-place match.

Third Place
Saturday, December 20
Auckland City FC (New Zealand) vs Cruz Azul (Mexico) – 11:30 AM – Fox Sports 2 / Fox Deportes

Final
Saturday, December 20
San Lorenzo (Argentina) vs Real Madrid (Spain) – 2:30 PM – Fox Sports 2 / Fox Deportes

 

Cruz Azul vs Real Madrid – Club World Cup

club world cup logoReal Madrid booked a place in the Club World Cup final with a 4-0 dismantling of Cruz Azul, who will have to content themselves with contesting the tournament’s third-place match.

Madrid was on the front foot from the beginning, with Jesús Corona forced into a point-blank save of a Cristiano Ronaldo shot in just the third minute. The UEFA champions kept pressing, and they got their reward in the 15th minute, when Corona came off his line on a set piece and was beaten to the ball by Sergio Ramos. The defender’s header found the back of the net to open the scoring and give Madrid the 1-0 lead.

Twenty minutes later, Karim Benzema got around Gerardo Flores in the box and shot through Corona’s legs to make it 2-0 for the Spaniards. Cruz Azul was floundering, but La Máquina was given a golden chance to reduce the deficit in the 40th minute.

Sergio Ramos took down Mariano Pavone in the box and referee Enrique Osses pointed to the penalty spot. Gerardo Torrado converted two penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round against Western Sydney Wanderers, but the third time was not the charm. Torrado’s spot kick was easily parried by Iker Casillas.

Two minutes later, Pavone found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the striker took too long to make a decision and Casillas was able to take the ball off his feet. With that, Madrid took the 2-0 lead into halftime.

In the second half, Madrid continued from where they had left off. In the 50th minute, Gareth Bale made it 3-0 when he headed home a cross from Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo himself could have made it 4-0 minutes later, but the striker went for the trick shot – a rabona – and Corona was able to make the save.

Luis Fernando Tena turned to his bench, inserting Marco Fabián and Pablo Barrera in the 64th minute, and it very nearly paid off. Moments after entering the game, Barrera hit the post with a long-range shot that had Casillas beaten.

Unfortunately for La Máquina, that was about as close as they would get. Madrid continued to dominate the game and Isco put the icing on the cake with his 72nd minute goal.

With the 4-0 win, Real Madrid advances to the final, where they will face the winner of the San Lorenzo/Auckland game on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Cruz Azul will face the loser of that semifinal in the third-place match. Both games will be played on Saturday, December 20.

Highlights

Lineups

Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Julio César Domínguez, Gerardo Flores, Francisco Rodríguez, Fausto Pinto, Hernán Bernardello, Christian Giménez (Marco Fabián 64′), Joao Rojas (Ismael Valadéz 76′), Gerardo Torrado, Mauro Formica, Mariano Pavone (Pablo Barrera 64′).

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas, Marcelo Vieira, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Danny Carvajal, Francisco Alarcón (Jese Rodríguez 76′), Asier Illarramendi, Toni Kroos (Sami Khedira 72′), Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Disciplinary Report: Gran Final Second Leg

disciplinary reportThe Disciplinary Committee has suspended four players and fined Club América in the aftermath of Sunday’s Gran Final second leg match.

The standout suspension goes to Tigres UANL captain Damián Álvarez, who was given a straight red for violent conduct during the game. He got a one-game suspension for that, and he earned another two games for his reaction to the card, specifically for insulting the match officials. As a result, Álvarez will be sidelined for the first three games of the Clausura 2015.

Also for Tigres, Nahuel Guzmán and Hernán Darío Burbano were each given one-game suspensions; Guzmán for picking up two yellow cards in a single game and Burbano for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

The only América player suspended, Luis “Quik” Mendoza, will serve his one-game ban with Santos Laguna after he changed clubs today.

Finally, América was fined 168,225 pesos (about $11,400 U.S.) for the use of smoke bombs, banners, streamers, and lasers in the Estadio Azteca during the second leg. All of those items are prohibited by Liga MX.

Club América Wins Record 12th Title

Embed from Getty Images

With a 3-1 aggregate win against Tigres UANL in the Apertura 2014 Gran Final, América became the winningest team in Liga MX history.

With titles in the 1965-66, 1970-71, 1975-76, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1987-88, 1988-89, Verano 2002, Clausura 2005, Clausura 2013 and Apertura 2014 seasons, América reaches a record 12 league titles. Tonight’s win moves them above fierce rivals Chivas de Guadalajara in terms of all-time titles, with Chivas having 11.

Coach Antonio “Turco” Mohamed will be going out on a high note after winning the title in front of a packed Estadio Azteca that chanted his name. Before the final was even played, it became clear that regardless of the outcome, América’s directors were not going to renew Mohamed’s contract. The Argentinian will nevertheless go down in the club’s history as the coach to bring the storied club their record-setting title.

América vs Tigres UANL – Gran Final Second Leg

america tigresAmérica overturned a 0-1 first leg deficit, winning tonight’s second leg 3-0 and crowning themselves the Apertura 2014 champions. The title, América’s 12th, sets a new record in Mexican soccer as the Águilas become the winningest team in Liga MX history.

Tigres UANL, which ended the game with only eight players on the field, will feel much aggrieved at the way things played out, although it’s worth noting that they had gone down 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate before the first red card came out.

The two teams traded chances in the opening quarter of an hour, although the balance of the game favored América. The packed crowed in the Estadio Azteca was also a factor, and referee Paul Delgadillo halted the game for several minutes due to fans shining lasers in the eyes of Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán.

América had the better of the chances, but they needed a Tigres mistake to open the scoring. José Francisco Torres’s pass to Edigio Arévalo got past the Uruguayan, and Michael Arroyo beat Arévalo to the loose ball. In an individual play, he then dribbled into the box, got past Jesús Dueñas and beat Nahuel Guzmán at the goalkeeper’s near post to make it 1-0 on the night and 1-1 on aggregate. Arroyo ended his celebration by hugging coach Antonio “Turco” Mohamed, whose departure from the club is understood to be imminent.

The game was still delicately balanced at that point, but a five-minute span in the second half put the Águilas firmly in control of the tie. First, Paolo Goltz put América ahead on aggregate in the 61st minute with a magisterial header, making it 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate. Then, Hernán Darío Burbano, who had entered the game in the 62nd minute as Ricardo Ferretti made a tactical adjustment to América’s second goal, earned a straight red card in the 63rd minute for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity when he pulled back Martín Zúñiga on a breakaway.

Down 2-0 and down a man, the night quickly went from bad to worse for Tigres, as their captain Damián Álvarez was controversially given a straight red card in the 66th minute. “El Enano” was so infuriated by his ejection that he had to be physically pulled away from the referee by his teammates.

The situation became almost farcical five minutes after that, when goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán was given his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card of the night. Tuca Ferretti sacrificed Joffre Guerrón, the hero of the first leg, to bring in backup keeper Enrique Palos as Tigres finished the game with eight men.

That would not be the last red card of the night, though. After Oribe Peralta sealed the deal with a powerful low shot in the 78th minute, a scuffle instigated by Jesús Dueñas ended with the expulsion of Luis “Quik” Mendoza for América.

The remaining minutes were nothing more than a formality, and the celebrations began even before the final whistle blew. With the 3-1 aggregate win, Club América becomes the Apertura 2014 champion.

Highlights

Lineups

América: Moisés Muñoz, Ventura Alvarado (Osvaldo Martínez 83′), Paolo Goltz, Pablo Aguilar, Osmar Mares, Jesús Molina, Rubens Sambueza (Luis Mendoza 72′), Miguel Layún, Michael Arroyo, Martín Zúñiga (Juan Carlos Valenzuela 64′), Oribe Peralta. 

Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán, Jesús Dueñas, José Rivas, Hugo Ayala, Jorge Torres Nilo, Guido Pizarro, Egidio Arévalo, José Francisco Torres (Hernán Darío Burbano 62′), Édgar Gerardo Lugo (Emanuel Villa 46′), Damián Álvarez, Joffre Guerrón (Enrique Palos 73′).

2014 Club World Cup: Semifinals

club world cup logoThe 2014 FIFA Club World Cup continues in Morocco this week with the semifinals and fifth-place match.

CONCACAF champion Cruz Azul and Oceania champion Auckland FC have advanced to the semifinals, where they will face Real Madrid and San Lorenzo, respectively.

Meanwhile, the defeated quarterfinalists, ES Sétif and Western Sydney Wanderers, will face off in the fifth-place match.

This week’s matches

Semifinals
Tuesday, December 16
Cruz Azul (Mexico) vs Real Madrid (Spain) – 2:30 PM – Fox Sports 1
Wednesday, December 17
San Lorenzo (Argentina) vs Auckland FC (New Zealand) – 2:30 PM – Fox Sports 2

Fifth-Place Match
Wednesday, December 17
ES Sétif (Algeria) vs Western Sydney Wanderers (Australia) – 11:30 AM – Fox Sports 2

Complete bracket

2014 fifa club world cup bracket4

Óscar Vera and Héctor Mancilla Join Veracruz

Logo VeracruzÓscar Salvador Vera has moved from Leones Negros to Veracruz ahead of the Clausura 2015 season, while Héctor Mancilla returns to Liga MX from Colombia’s Cúcuta Deportivo.

Vera, a 28-year-old left midfielder, spent the last year with the Universidad de Guadalajara, making 16 appearances in the Apertura 2014 season, 14 as a starter. Veracruz highlighted the midfielder’s quality in their press release announcing his signing, and they will be looking for his help to keep the club in the first division.

Mancilla, 34, a Chilean national, spent eight years in Mexico before his year in Colombia, and is now returning to the first Mexican club he ever played for. The striker knows how to score goals in Liga MX, registering more than 130 of them in his career, and Veracruz could certainly use his goalscoring touch as they look to avoid relegation. The Tiburones Rojos finished the Apertura 2014 season as the lowest-scoring team in the league, with just eight goals in their 17 games.

Cruz Azul vs Western Sydney Wanderers – FIFA Club World Cup

club world cup logoCruz Azul made their Club World Cup debut in the pouring rain in Rabat, Morocco, against Asian champions Western Sydney Wanderers. La Máquina needed an 89th-minute penalty kick to equalize and send the game to extra time, where they rallied for a 3-1 win against an Australian team that was reduced to nine men.

The field wasn’t in the best condition to begin with, and the rain made matters much worse. It took the teams a while to adjust to the conditions as best they could. Western Sydney had the first good chance of the game, when Matthew Spiranovic’s header forced a save out of Jesús Corona in the 11th minute, but Cruz Azul responded through Marco Fabián, who sent a powerful shot just wide of the post.

Possession was evenly split in the first half, but it was the CONCACAF champions who controlled play. Nevertheless, they had nothing to show for it and the teams went into halftime 0-0.

Cruz Azul continued to control the game in the second half, despite the weather and field conditions, but the Wanderers were able to capitalize on one of their few chances. A poor clearance fell to Iacopo La Rocca, whose strike from 25 yards out found the corner to give Wanderers the 1-0 lead, against the run of play, in the 65th minute.

Cruz Azul immediately went looking for an equalizer, and they were helped by Spiranovic picking up his second yellow card of the game in the 73rd minute. With the man advantage, Cruz Azul dominated the game further and they mercilessly peppered goalkeeper Ante Covic, who kept his side in the game with a string of fine saves.

When Marco Fabián was fouled in the box by Shannon Cole in the dying moments of the game, Cruz Azul was given an opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot. Gerardo Torrado stepped up for La Máquina and sent his spot kick past Covic to send the game to extra time.

Wanderers’ captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley was then sent off in extra time in a bit of a comedy of errors type situation; a 57th minute foul committed by Seyi Adeleke had gone into the book under Topor-Stanley’s name. He hadn’t realized the error at the time, and was then sent off after picking up what he thought was his first yellow card of the game.

Down to nine men, Wanderers were unable to withstand the continued onslaught of Cruz Azul, who went in front in the 108th minute through Mariano Pavone. A late handball by Mateo Poljak gave La Máquina a second penalty kick in the 118th minute. Torrado converted it for his second goal of the match.

With the 3-1 win, Cruz Azul advances to the semifinals to face Real Madrid, while Western Sydney Wanderers will contest the fifth-place match against ES Sétif.

Highlights

Lineups

Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Fausto Pinto (Ismael Valadéz 78′), Francisco Rodíguez, Julio César Domínguez, Gerardo Torrado, Mariano Pavone, Mauro Formica, Xavier Baez (Joao Rojas 69′), Gerardo Flores, Marco Fabián, Christian Giménez.

Western Sydney Wanderers: Ante Covic, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Brendan Hamill, Labinot Haliti (Tomi Juric 68′), Mateo Poljak, Nikita Rukavytsya, Iacopo La Rocca, Matthew Sprianovic, Romeo Castelen (Shannon Cole 78′), Mark Bridge, Seyi Adeleke (Antony Golec 72′).

Gran Final Second Leg Preview

A look ahead at Sunday’s Gran Final second leg.

América (1) vs Tigres UANL (2) (aggregate score 0-1) – 7:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes. Online: Univision Deportes en Vivo

Tigres UANL picked up a 1-0 win in the first leg, and now need another win or a draw to become Liga MX champions. Tigres are riding a 16-game unbeaten streak and will look to keep that streak alive in the Azteca on Sunday evening en route to claiming their fourth league title.

As for América, they need a one-goal win to send the game to extra time and a two-goal win to win the aggregate – and the title – outright. The Águilas are looking for a record 12th league title and have the advantage of playing the second leg on their home field.

On the other hand, Tigres went unbeaten on the road this season, with eight draws and three wins, while América has a 6-2-2 home record this season. They’ve been vulnerable at home as of late, with two losses and a draw in their last four, and they’ll need to pick up a win to claim the title.

Tigres showed their defensive strengths during the Liguilla, but they were able to win when it mattered most, and the universitarios did score 25 goals during the regular season – they have firepower when they want to use it. América has goalscoring threats of their own, though, and they’ll look to the likes of Oribe Peralta and Miguel Layún to find the back of the net in this one.