The quarterfinals of the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League get underway this week, and three of Mexico’s four entrants remain in the competition.
León was eliminated in the round of sixteen after falling to LAFC 3-2 on aggregate; Tigres UANL, América, and Cruz Azul are still in contention, and they’ll all be facing Major League Soccer teams in the quarterfinals.
Cruz Azul will take on LAFC, Tigres will face NYCFC, and América was drawn against Atlanta United. The Águilas will start their series at home, while both La Máquina and the Universitarios will be away for their first legs.
The knockout rounds consist of two-legged, home-and-away series, with the winner determined by aggregate score. Away goals are tiebreakers.
In this rescheduled Jornada 1 match, América earned a 0-1 away win against Puebla. The result ends a two-game winless streak for the Águilas, while the Poblanos have now lost three in a row.
The hosts started the game off better, but they were unable to capitalize on their advantage while they had it, with Memo Ochoa making several good saves to keep América from falling behind. Then VAR review saw Puebla come off worse for wear twice; first, when Jesús Zavala’s would-be goal was determined to have been stopped by Ochoa on the line, and then when a penalty call was changed to a free kick just outside the box.
Neither team could find the breakthrough in this one as Tijuana and América played out a 0-0 draw. The result keeps the Xolos unbeaten at home this season – but winless in two overall – while the Águilas remain unbeaten overall.
The visitors quickly found a good chance through Giovani dos Santos, but he couldn’t beat the onrushing Manuel Gibrán Lajud and the opportunity went begging. At the other end, Miler Bolaños forced a good save out of Memo Ochoa as the two teams traded chances.
América beat Tigres UANL by the minimum difference to get the Águilas off to a winning start in the Clausura 2020. The result gives the universitarios their first loss and keeps them winless in two.
Tigres started the game off strongly, but they lost some momentum after captain Guido Pizarro had to leave the field with an injury after just 10 minutes. América got stronger as the game went on and they created several good chances but couldn’t beat Nahuel Guzmán. Memo Ochoa made some good saves of his own at the other end as both goalkeepers shone in the first 45.
América took the lead but couldn’t hold it as Monterrey fought back for a 2-1 victory in the first leg of the Apertura 2019 Gran Final.
The first-half was a hard-fought affair, with more fouls – 18 of them – than goal-scoring chances. Monterrey looked more dangerous in possession, but when the opening goal came, it was for the visitors. Late in the half, Henry Martín played Federico Viñas in on goal; with Marcelo Barovero beaten, the unfortunate Carlos Rodríguez mis-hit an intended clearance to send the ball into his own net. His own-goal made it 0-1 for the Águilas in the 44th minute.
América earned a 2-0 victory against Monarcas Morelia in the second leg of their semifinal series to level the aggregate at 2-2. With away goals not coming into play, the Águilas earned a place in the Gran Final thanks to the higher-seed tiebreaker.
América came into this one needing to score at least two goals, and they went on the attack from the beginning. The breakthrough came in the 37th minute, when Renato Ibarra’s shot from outside the box took a deflection off the defense and beat Sebastián Sosa to make it 1-0 (1-2 aggregate).
The Apertura 2019 Gran Final is set, and it’ll be 6th-seeded América taking on 8th-seeded Monterrey.
América reached the final after comebacks against Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals and Monarcas Morelia in the semis, while Monterrey got there by upsetting superlíder Santos in the quarterfinals before beating Necaxa in the semis.
Due to Monterrey’s participation in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, where they’ll be representing the confederation after winning the CONCACAF Champions League, the Liga MX playoff schedule had to be adjusted.
The Rayados will host the first leg on December 26th, while América will host the return leg on December 29th.