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Copa MX Match Recap: Cruz Azul defeats FC Juárez 2-0

Pachuca v Cruz Azul - Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Cruz Azul, with the help of some very questionable officiating, defeated FC Juárez by a score of 2-0 in order to book their spot in the semifinals of the Copa MX.

Following a less than thrilling first half that saw very few scoring opportunities for either side, the match was thrown into controversy when FC Juárez defender Elio Castro was shown his second yellow card of the match for a supposed foul inside the penalty area while both sides waited for a corner kick to be taken. Upon closer inspection of the play, it could be seen that Castro barely touched a Cruz Azul player who proceeded to dramatically fall to the ground and roll around as though he had been seriously hurt. The referee who was just a few feet away from the incident didn’t hesitate to show Castro his second yellow of the match.

The sending off of Castro turned the match on its head and completely changed the way that both teams would play going forward. Up a man and playing with a very strong lineup, Cruz Azul turned up the attacking pressure and came at the FC Juárez penalty area in droves. Los Bravos were only able to keep la Maquina from breaking through onto the scoresheet for 14 minutes after being reduced to 10-men. In the 61st minute, Roberto “El Piojo” Alvarado got onto the end of a loose ball on the left side of the area, dribbled past a defender, and squeezed a ball past FC Juárez goalkeeper Iván Vázquez Mellado at the near post to open the scoring.

Cruz Azul was once again on the beneficial side of some questionable officiating just moments after taking the lead. FC Juárez launched a quick counter attack after gaining possession off the ball near the halfway line.Second half substitute Edy Brambila received the ball on the edge of the area, raced past one defender, and was brought down inside of the area. However, instead of marking a penalty the referee allowed play to continue. Upon further review, Brambila was clearly impeded by two Cruz Azul defenders and a penalty should have been given.

Cruz Azul put the match to bed with a second goal in the 73rd minute. Martín Cuaterrucio received the ball at the top of the area from a free kick, was given plenty of time and space, and calmly fired the ball past the outstretched arms of Vázquez Mellado to double the host’s lead and ensure that FC Juárez’s Copa MX cinderella story wouldn’t have another chapter.