It took 120 minutes and an extremely dubious penalty, but in the end Mexico eked out a 1-0 victory against Haiti in their 2019 Gold Cup semifinal.
The Haitians had been the surprise of the tournament with an upset victory against Costa Rica in the group stage and an epic come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Canada in the quarterfinals, but their Cinderella story couldn’t stretch to getting them to the final.
Mexico dominated possession form the opening whistle – with 76% of it in the first half – but Haitian goalkeeper Jhony Placide was in fine form to keep El Tri off the board. His best save of the half came against Raúl Jiménez, when he made a diving stop to keep out the header.
The 2019 Gold Cup continues this Tuesday with the first semifinal, where Mexico will be facing an unexpected opponent: Haiti.
Haiti made history on Saturday night with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Canada in the quarterfinals, putting them into the semifinals for the first time. They’ll be looking for another huge upset in this one as they set their sights on reaching the final.
Tigres UANL booked their spot in the Clausura 2019 Gran Final with a 1-0 win against Monterrey in the second leg of this Clásico Regio semifinal series. With the aggregate tied 1-1 and away goals not a factor, the universitarios advanced due to the higher seed tiebreaker.
The onus was on Tigres in this one after Monterrey’s victory in the first leg, and they looked to make their home field advantage count in the partisan atmosphere of El Volcán. The hosts controlled possession for the majority of the first half, although there weren’t too many truly dangerous chances.
León vs América – 9:06 PM – Univision Deportes First leg: América 0-1 León
León (1st) is in good position to advance after their away win in the first leg. Any win or draw would put them through to the final, as would a 0-1 loss – and every single one of their home games this season reflected one of those scenarios: seven wins, one draw, and one 0-1 loss. León also has both the best attacking record and the best defensive record in the league; they would have to lose while conceding 2+ goals to fail to advance, and that happened just once in their 17 regular season games. In other words, La Fiera will like their chances in this one.
Tigres UANL vs Monterrey – 8:00 PM – Univision Deportes First leg: Monterrey 1-0 Tigres
Tigres UANL (2nd) suffered a narrow defeat in the first leg of this Clásico Regio semifinal series, and they’ll now look to overcome the deficit when they return home to El Volcán. Due to their position as higher seed, a 1-0 victory would send Tigres through; but if Monterrey scores, the universitarios will need to win by two due to the away goals tiebreaker. Tigres lost just once at home in the regular season and scored 2+ goals in seven of their eight games there, so a comeback here is well within the realms of possibility. They will not want to lose to their regional rivals again, especially not at home; expect high intensity from the opening whistle.
Superlíderes León took the advantage in their semifinal series with a 0-1 away win against América.
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.
Monterrey took the lead in this Clásico Regio semifinal series with a 1-0 victory against Tigres UANL in Wednesday’s first leg.
The Rayados came out attacking as they looked to make their home-field advantage count, and Rogelio Funes Mori had a very early chance saved by Nahuel Guzmán. Tigres did not sit back to defend, but pressed forward themselves, and Luis Quiñones had a good chance in the 12th minute but his attempt was high.
The Clausura 2019 quarterfinals wrapped up on Sunday with three of the four higher seeds advancing to the semifinals.
Superlíder León continued their good form by beating Tijuana 5-2 on aggregate to easily advance, while América split their series with rivals Cruz Azul, but triumphed 3-2 on aggregate to become the lone lower seed to move on.
Tigres UANL and Monterrey both advanced based on their position in the table after aggregate draws in the quarterfinals; Tigres tied Pachuca 2-2, while Monterrey tied Necaxa 1-1. The two will now face each other as the Liguilla produces another Clásico series.