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Chivas’ best isn't enough as America wins Superclasico

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America defeats Chivas 2-1 in a game where most people saw Chivas be better but fail to convert their opportunities.

America’s fans prior to the start of today’s match
Rafael Hernandez

Chivas played their best game of the season against America but a negative 5 minutes span was enough for America to get the 2-1 win in a Superclasico that went above expectations. America came in as the clear favorites but a superclasico, the biggest game in Mexican football, is always up in the air and it was proven today. Chivas, currently at last place, came in and was the better side for most of the 1st half and 2nd. Carlos Cisneros took the lead for Chivas and with a couple of counter attacks, Chivas had America on the ropes. Then Carlos Salcido was subbed out and almost immediately America had tied the game. Goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota (who wasn't having a good game) failed to handle a shot and left it for Oribe Peralta to tie the game. Then almost a minute later, a great individual play by Renato Ibarra put the game 2-1 and after Alan Pulido came out injured, Chivas night was finished and America dominated the final minutes to get the 2-1 victory.

America came in to the Superclasico sitting pretty. They just beaten Cruz Azul away 3-1 and are 2nd overall. Playing their best football of this season, spirits were high for their match against Chivas. Chivas on the other hand came in tied in last place and virtually eliminated from the liguilla. Their season has been night and day from last season glorious one in which they won both titles. Injuries as well as a decay in play from most of their stars all combined to a very disappointing season and to make matters worse would play without Rodolfo Pizarro, who got red carded in their final game. Yet none of that was evident by the play in the 1st half. While no team truly dominated, Chivas was the better side of the two. The two best chances where by Chivas as Carlos Salcido missed a wide open header off a corner kick and Alan Pulido had a free kick marvelously saved by Agustin Marchesin. That being said America also had possession and Carlos Darwin Quintero almost had a goal scored by a bicycle kick. The halftime score of 0-0 was deserved.

The 2nd half started with a great Alan Pulido play in which he went almost chipped it over Marchesin but it went wide in a tough angle. Chivas though took control of the game, came close to scoring off a corner and opened the scoring thru Carlos Cisneros. Pulido found Cisneros outside the area and with a left footed shot he got off, Chivas took the 1-0 lead. After the goal Chivas had most of the possession and had some counters that they wasted. Then the game changing play happened when Carlos Salcido got subbed out for Hedgardo Marin. The defensive switch immediately paid off for America, when Paul Aguilar had a shot from outside the area that Rodolfo Cota bobbled straight into the path of Oribe Peralta, who tied it. Cota hadn't been having the best game, with constant distribution problems and his mistake hit Chivas hard. 2 minutes later America took the lead when Chivas failed to clear a Cecilio Dominguez cross. The ball then fell to Renato Ibarra, who made a move past 2 Chivas defenders and scored. The goals were too much of a psychological hit to Chivas and it was even worse when Pulido got injured and had to be subbed out. Chivas was never able to regain their pre-goals style and America came closer to a 3rd than Chivas came to getting a tie.

With the win America moved 1 point closer to leaders Monterrey. The win also gave them a sweep of regular season clasicos. Coach Miguel Herrera is an expert at winning clasicos with America but he knows they were lucky tonight (and he said so in the press conference after the game). The game was expected to go America way and it was clearer in the stand, where for one of the first times in recent years a team had the majority of fans in the crowd (America). Yet Chivas played their best game of the tournament but it wasn't enough and they are eliminated of the tournament and will have to go all in for the Copa MX (where they also have a clasico against Atlas next week). America now goes closer to the top but will have a tough game at home against Necaxa. Chivas will go to Veracruz away and now only has the Copa Mx as a goal besides not finishing last.