These two faced each other less than a week ago in the SuperCopa MX, where Cruz Azul walked away with a 4-0 victory; La Máquina was not able to carry that form over into this match, however. The opening was cagey, with few chances of note for either side, although on the balance the visitors looked more dangerous.
La Máquina looked dangerous from the beginning, with their first good chance coming in the 3rd minute; on the counterattack, Roberto Alvarado found Édgar Méndez, but his shot went over the bar. Then, in the 17th minute, Yosimar Yotún forced a good save out of Hugo González as Cruz Azul continued to look for the opener.
La Máquina came out attacking, knowing they needed at least two goals to overturn América’s first-leg lead. José Madueña had an early chance go just wide, while Jonathan Rodríguez found himself in dangerous positions multiple times, but was unable to convert any of his chances.
Cruz Azul lost the first leg, but thanks to their away goal and their position as higher seed, they are still in a reasonable position to advance: La Máquina needs a two-goal win to move on to the semifinals. They were not a very high-scoring team in the regular season, though, amassing 26 goals in total; they won by a 2+-goal margin just four times in 17 games. Nevertheless, that’s what they need to do in this one. The pressure is on, especially since Cruz Azul will not want to be knocked out of the playoffs by their Clásico rivals.
Cruz Azul came out attacking and they had a penalty shout in just the second minute as Agustín Marchesín came off his line to stop Orbelín Pineda, getting the ball but also bringing down the player; then, when the keeper went to gather the loose ball, he brought down Yoshimar Yotún. But neither the referee nor VAR called a penalty and play continued.
Necaxa vs Monterrey – 8:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Necaxa (6th) finished off the regular season with a 1-0 victory against Querétaro to send them into the playoffs with a four-game unbeaten streak. The Rayos are also unbeaten at home in four and lost just once at home in the regular season. However, they also had more draws than victories in the Estadio Victoria and accumulated the fewest home points of any of the playoff teams; they also scored the fewest home goals: 12 in eight games. Necaxa had a better record on the road, but they’ll still be looking to put their home-field advantage to good use as they start their quarterfinal series in this one. Continue reading
Cruz Azul dispatched 10-man Pumas UNAM 2-1 to solidify their place in the playoff standings. The result keeps La Máquina unbeaten in eight, while the universitarios have now lost two of their last three and are eliminated from playoff contention.
Cruz Azul had the better of the early opportunities, but they struggled to convert them. Orbelín Pineda in particular had two clear chances that he was unable to finish off as the score remained stubbornly 0-0. Then, the visitors thought they had taken the lead when Carlos González beat Jesús Corona, but VAR review disallowed the goal for offside.
Rafael Baca of Cruz Azul was given a one-game suspension for denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity, while Jesús Angulo of Santos Laguna was suspended for receiving two yellow cards in the same game.
Alexis Pérez of Querétaro, Alexis Vega of Chivas de Guadalajara, and Luis Felipe Gallegos of Necaxa were all given one-game suspensions for serious foul play.
In a game that finished 10 vs 10, Cruz Azul picked up a comfortable 3-0 victory against Querétaro. The result keeps La Máquina unbeaten in six – with four wins in that span – while the Gallos Blancos remain winless on the road this season.
The hosts started the game off strongly and they found several early chances. In the 6th minute, Yoshimar Yotún had a good look, but his shot went over the bar; then, in the 13th minute, Orbelín Pineda saw his header hit the crossbar.
In a torrential downpour, Cruz Azul fought back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against Monterrey. The result keeps the Rayados unbeaten at home this season but winless in three overall, while La Máquina saw their three-game winning streak halted but remain unbeaten in five.
The driving rain made field conditions difficult, and although Monterrey found a few early chances, neither team could fully take control of the game. Then, just when it looked like the game would remain goalless going into halftime, Avilés Hurtado finished off a cross from Dorlan Pabón with an impressive bicycle kick to give Monterrey the 1-0 lead in the 44th minute.