America defeated Cruz Azul for the second time this season and eliminated them from the Copa MX with a 1-0 win. The win was marred by controversy as the game changed when Christian “Chaco” Gimenez got a red card in a play that looked like it could've been a yellow card instead. The play basically killed Cruz Azul, who suffered being a man down in the second half after looking like a composed side in the first. America didn't look superior until being a man up and took the lead with a Pablo Aguilar header. America will face Queretaro in the Quarterfinals.
Las Aguilas came heavily favored to tonight's game. Although they had lost to Necaxa on Saturday, the had won all clasicos in the league, including defeating Cruz Azul 3-1 in the regular season. Also Cruz Azul was also coming in with a huge 3-0 loss to Lobos BUAP, a defeat that had made coach Paco Jemez declare that Cruz Azul wasn't a big team.
Still, you wouldn't have known all that after seeing the game during the first half. America was never really in control of the game and it looked like it would be a repeat of the Chivas game, where they were also heavily favored and were outplayed even when they got the win. Cruz Azul even had the best opportunity when Edgar Mendez came close with a header. The game looked to be an even match until the last minute of the first half changed the game. Christian "Chaco" Gimenez went after Paul Aguilar from behind and knocked him down in a play that looked like a red card offense and which the ref did pull out. Slow motion replays, however, showed that although it was a hard foul, it might have been a yellow and Aguilar looked to have exaggerated the foul. The half ended with a 0-0 score but Cruz Azul down a man.
The second half immediately showed that Cruz Azul had taken the man down hard. America suddenly started dominating the game and Cruz Azul had to defend. A pass to Oribe Peralta was knocked by Cruz Azul goalkeeper, Guillermo Allison, straight into Pablo Aguilar's head, who missed an open netter. America kept the pressure and off a free kick by Darwin Quintero, Pablo Aguilar got his revenge and scored off a header.
The 1-0 was enough, although Cruz Azul had a great chance off a free kick that fell to a wide open defender Joaquin Velasquez, who kicked it straight into the keeper. America then had a great counter that Cecilio Dominguez wasted but Cruz Azul never came close to tie the game and America was through.
America was the deserved winner tonight but the game was changed by the red card and another lifeline given to the team. While it looked like the wrong call by the ref, the biggest mistake had to be by Gimenez. He went into a tackle with excessive force and it an area that posed no danger. With the actual angle the ref had, it looked like a clear red card. While Cruz Azul did better than expected, the result being the same will totally hurt the team and Coach Jemez. America meanwhile continues through but they must start noticing that their performances aren't up to par with the prior expectations. At the end of the day, however, America fans know, it's better to win these types of games and they have done that all season. Jemez and the boys are hoping to get a rematch in the Liguilla and their main goal should be to try and get there first.