The highly anticipated second leg match of the 2017 Apertura liguilla Clásico Joven between Club América and Cruz Azul can be summed up as a story of missed chances. Both teams had ample opportunities to take control of the match and score what surely would have been a decisive goal, but neither were able to get the ball into the back of the net before the end of the 90 minutes.
Straight from kickoff it was evident that the match was going to be much more action packed on the offensive side of things than the first leg had been at Estadio Azul. Both teams were able to easily slice through their opposition’s midfield and defense in the early going. However, despite getting into decent attacking positions and sending a ton of crosses into the box neither team really threatened to score a goal. Wild shots, misplaced crosses, and passes that were just a bit too long characterized much of the first half action.
The first clear goalscoring opportunity of the match came in the 43rd minute when a Cruz Azul corner was masterfully chested down and shot towards goal by Felipe Mora. Luckily for las Águilas, goalkeeper Augustín Marchesín quickly came off of his line in order to make an absolutely incredible save to prevent the visitors from taking the lead just before the half.
Not even a minute had passed in the second half before another scoring opportunity developed. This time it was Darwin Quintero who found himself taking a pass from Oribe Peralta at the top of the box and rifling a low shot just outside of the left post. The shot left Cruz Azul goalkeeper Chuy Corona rooted to the spot and would have certainly been a goal if it was just a few more inches to the right.
The next few minutes following Darwin Quintero’s early second half chance were absolute pandemonium as both sides raced up and down the field generating chance after chance. Cruz Azul very narrowly responded with a goal of their own less than a minute after Quintero’s shot went painstakingly wide of the goal. The Cruz Azul counter attack was beautifully worked up until the last second in which the shot flew well wide of the goal.
The match appeared to have finally calmed down a bit when Las Águilas managed to win the ball at midfield and launch a counter attack in the 66th minute of the match. Darwin Quintero once again found himself with an opportunity to put Club América in the lead after receiving a pass from Miguel Samudio inside the box. Once again, however, he was unable to capitalize on the golden opportunity and sent a shot flying across the face of goal and just past the outstretched leg of Oribe Peralta.
About six minutes after almost gifting las Águilas with the lead, Cruz Azul won themselves a free kick in a dangerous area a few feet outside of the box. The ensuing free kick dangerously bounced around inside of the box as the bodies of both attackers and defenders came crashing to the ground. The play was one of those that looked like a foul could have been called on wither team. Rather than risk calling a contentious penalty in favor of la Maquina, the referee waived play on. Paco Jemez could be seen visibly enraged on the sidelines after the referee failed to give his side a favorable decision.
Following the contentious play inside of the area it seemed as though Cruz Azul was destined to score. La Maquina appeared to have found a second wind and for the next few minutes controlled the tempo and flow of the match. This led to Cruz Azul being awarded a corner in the 81st minute. The corner was a very dangerous one as the ball found the head of an attacker who sent it towards goal. Luckily for las Águilas, Augustín Marchesín was there once again to make a phenomenal save.
A few minutes later, Cruz Azul was once again on the ball in an advanced position. This time, la Maquina lifted a cross dangerously into the area. The cross narrowly missed the head of an attacking player before hitting Miguel Samudio and rolling just to the wrong side of the post. It seemed like the air fell out of the stadium as soon as the ball hit Samudio and began to roll towards goal. Luckily for the home side it rolled to the wrong side of the post.
Cruz Azul would have one more chance in the match to try and take the lead. In the 90+3 minute of stoppage time Felipe Mora chested down a long cross and turned to shoot towards goal. In the end the shot flew about 20 feet over the top of the goal ensuring that las Águilas would be advancing to the semifinals of the 2017 Apertura tournament.