Comfortable but Dangerous Lead for Cruz Azul; Atlas survives in Torreon

Cruz Azul wins 4-2 at home and Atlas survives an away game against Santos.

Comfortable but Dangerous Lead for Cruz Azul; Atlas survives in TorreonPhoto: Liga MX
Photo: Liga MX

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The second day of Liga MX quarterfinals first legs is now in the books. Cruz Azul will take comfortable, but dangerous lead to Morelia. And Santos was unable to take advantage of their home field and drew 0-0 with Atlas.

Cruz Azul scored four goals and defeated a strong Morelia side, but they also let in two goals, two away goals for Morelia. Cruz Azul will feel confident after the 4-2 win but the two goal lead is the most dangerous lead to have, especially with 90 minutes still to be played in Morelia’s stadium Estadio Morelos.

It was the visiting team that got off to a fast start. Hector Mancilla header in the first of six goals of the night in the fourth minute of play. Mariano Pavone would tie the game in the 24th minute; and the teams went into half time all leveled.

Cruz Azul went out flying for the second half, in the 53rd minute Colombian international Teo Gutierrez gave Cruz Azul the lead. Five minutes later Christian “Chaco” Gimenez took advantage of a huge defensive error and made it 3-1 for the home side.

In the 71st it was lights out for Cruz Azul; literally. The lights in the Estadio Azul went out leaving the players and fans in total darkness. The game had to be stopped for about 20 minutes. Game started back up around the 90th minute and all the time was added on.

In the 98th minute Pavone was again made himself present on the score sheet for what looked like the decisive 4-1. Morelia looked like they were already knocked-out at that point. But ten minutes later second half substitute Carlos Ochoa scored a goal that injected pure hope in the veins of all Morelia. The 4-2 score would remain to be the final score in this first leg.

For the second leg Morelia is going to need to search for a two goal win, 2-0, 3-1, or 4-2 all give the Michuacanos a place in the semifinals. Cruz Azul will need a win, draw, one goal loss, or if they lose by two goals it would have to be 5-3 or greater for them to advance on away goal rule.

In the “Territorio Santos Modelo” stadium a very strong Santos squad was unable to get through the Cinderella story of this season Atlas. These were the two best defenses of the entire league, so goals were always going to be hard to come by. But it Santos are the ones with the strongest squad on paper, and they were playing at home; so they’ll be disappointed that they could not get the win.

Santos did control the majority of the match and created the better goal scoring opportunities, but were not able to finish them. They did miss their star striker, Olympic Gold medalist Oribe Peralta.

For the return leg Atlas will have home field advantage. But Santos will have the benefit of being able to score an away goal; something Atlas did not do. If Santos finds a goal, Atlas would be force to win; a draw would not be enough for the only remaining team from Guadalajara at that point. The only draw that Atlas can use to advance to semifinals is the 0-0 as they have a higher position in the table as Santos.

jonny.rico@sandiegored.com

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