Chivas' 2016 resurgence came to a bitter halt with a 2-1 loss against rivals America Sunday at the Estadio Azteca. Both teams entered the second leg at a 0-0 aggregate tally for the tie, but it was a missed penalty and deadly counter that decided the game.
America's largest concern was the absence of team captain Rubens Sambueza, who was ejected from the first leg. Meanwhile, Chivas had to play without Matias Almeyda on the sidelines after he was barred from the game following commentary on the officiating for the first leg.
Orbelin Pineda whipped in a ninth minute shot to give Chivas the lead and nearly doubled it when he earned a penalty in the 32nd minute. Carlos Peña missed the penalty and appeared to fade out of the game after the matter. El Rebaño's defense was somewhat consistent but was doomed in two instances: the concession of a penalty that led to America's first goal and the breakdown on a counter that led to the Aguilas' second.
Lots will be made out of the collective's future going forward and into the next tournament, but when it came to individual performances, very few shone and some important figures faded out. Here are Chivas' player ratings for Sunday's Clasico Nacional: Liguilla edition.
GK, Rodolfo Cota: 7
Cota had a major gaffe in the 20th minute which nearly gave America a major scoring opportunity. Luckily for Chivas, his individual mental lapse gave way to a larger collective lapse when America wasted their opportunity in a failed "madruguete" tactic.
LB, Edwin Hernandez: 6.5
Hernandez was physically overtaken when trying to push up offensively, but made important stops like the one he had on Quintero in the 58th minute. He did his best to contain any outbreak on the flank, but couldn't penetrate offensively.
LCB, Carlos Salcedo: 6.5
Salcedo worked well and communicated with his backline for the majority of the game. However, it only takes one instance of mediocrity to doom a team's Liguilla hopes, and this was the case for Chivas when Salcedo and the back line couldn't adjust quick enough on America's goal-scoring play.
RCB, Jair Pereira: 6.5
Pereira had a quiet, solid outing along with the rest of the back line. Unfortunately, faulty communication led to bad marking on the Peralta goal that condemned his side. He redeemed himself to an extent in the 82nd minute when he patiently disarmed Peralta on a dangerous America counter. He also took a nasty kick to the face from Benedetto that would take him out for most of the remainder of the game.
RB, Jesus Sanchez: 6
Sanchez committed a massive error when he conceded a 27th minute penalty. His pitch awareness was evidently off on that play. His work rate was commendable before being switched off.
LCM, Carlos Salcido: 7
Salcido worked tirelessly in the first half to win the ball for his side whenever he had the chance. Fortunately for Chivas, he was more keen on the possession game and less on long shot opportunities.
RCM, Orbelin Pineda: 7.5
Pineda made his impact early on with a shot from outside of the box that beat America's Hugo Gonzalez to give Chivas the lead. He continued to be a terror for America when he drew a penalty in the 31st minute. He dropped an America defender in the 44th minute like a bad habit, but couldn't lift his team to victory with one more instance of brilliance.
LW, Carlos Cisneros: 6.5
Cisneros played well on the left flank, working hard to create opportunities for his team. He passed intelligently and was dangerous when delving into the midfield, setting up shots like Peña's in the 51st minute.
RW, Isaac Brizuela: 6
Brizuela's had a very forgettable game in which he was seemingly absent. He started to show up a bit more in the second half but still couldn't do much as he was usually double-teamed. Unfortunately, he couldn't shine at his full potential to pull his team closer to victory.
F, Carlos Peña: 6
Peña was solid in the passing game early on but couldn't capitalize on the 32nd minute penalty when he smacked it off the crossbar. He mishandled a pass on the counter near the end of the first half. Gullit couldn't regain his mojo as his form suffered for the rest of the game.
F, Omar Bravo: 5.5
Bravo did well to win a corner early on and remained active throughout the first half, but faded drastically as the game continued. He had an opportunity on a corner but failed to be on target.
RM, Javier Lopez: 7 (on in the 67th minute for Jesus Sanchez)
Chofis unloaded a dangerous shot in the 74th minute that nearly tied the game. He also made quality passes to create chances, but couldn't produce the one Chivas needed.
LB, Jose Ramirez: 6 (on in the 74th minute for Edwin Hernandez)
He played hard but couldn't create the opportunity that Chivas needed. When given the ball, he had mixed results and wasn't as precise as one would've hoped in passing.
F, Michel Vasquez: 6 (on in the 74th minute for Carlos Salcido)
Vasquez never saw much of the ball but remained active and did his best to mark his opponents in the losing effort.
In another heated edition of the Clasico Nacional, only one team would leave the Azteca with their title hopes in tact.