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Mexican Clausura Semifinals Set: Pumas, Morelia, Cruz Azul, and Chivas Advance

Dario Veron and Pumas power into the semifinals as the top remaining seed. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Dario Veron and Pumas power into the semifinals as the top remaining seed. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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With the conclusion of Sunday night’s match between Monarcas Morelia and Club America, the Clausura season’s Liguilla semifinal field has now officially been set. Three of Mexico's biggest clubs - Chivas Guadalajara, Pumas UNAM, and Cruz Azul - all advanced over the weekend. America, the last of the "big four" teams, fell short on Sunday night, with Morelia stepping into the final semifinal spot.

Pumas, who defeated Monterrey 2-0 on Sunday afternoon, advance as both the odds-on favorites and the highest remaining seed (#2). They will face #8-seeded Chivas, who hung on for a 1-1 draw on Saturday to upset top-seeded Tigres. On Sunday night, Morelia demolished Club America at home, scoring three goals to advance by a 5-3 aggregate score. Monarcas will now take on Cruz Azul, who gutted out a scoreless draw on the road in Cancun to advance past Atlante with a 2-1 aggregate advantage.

Pumas make a return to the semifinals for the second-consecutive year. Last season the UNAM run ended in this round with a loss to eventual champions Monterrey. Morelia appeared in the semifinal round in May 2010 during the Bicentenario season. Cruz Azul last made it this far in the Apertura 2009 season, the year la Maquina advanced all the way to the finals. The semifinal drought has been longest by far for Chivas. It has been seven long seasons since Guadalajara made this deep a run in the Liguilla, with their last semifinal appearance coming all the way back in the Apertura 2007 season.

The semifinal round begins on Thursday night in Guadalajara, with Chivas hosting Pumas at Estadio Omnilife. Later that night the other semifinal series will open at Estadio Azul, with Cruz Azul hosting Morelia. On Sunday afternoon, Pumas will host the return leg against Chivas at Estadio Olimpico Universitario in Mexico City. Sunday evening the semfinal round concludes with Morelia facing Cruz Azul at Estadio Morelos.