Necaxa played host to Club América in both teams first match of the 2018 Apertura season. Straight from the kickoff all signs pointed towards the match being a back and forth thriller. It took mere four minutes for the hosts to generate the first real chance of the game.
Necaxa broke away from the Club América defense following a sloppy turnover in the midfield and won a corner. Los Rayos whipped in a beautiful corner that was struck sweetly by an attacking player towards the bottom right corner of the goal. Thankfully for las Águilas, goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín made a heroic diving save to prevent the hosts from takin an early lead. Marchesín’s heroic save forced the ball out for another corner. Once again, a Necaxa attacking player was able to make solid contact with his head and direct the ball towards the goal. This time however, the shot flew just above the crossbar.
Directly following the two Necaxa corners, las Águilas went racing down the left side of the Estadio Victoria pitch. Renato Ibarra easily raced passed the Necaxa midfield before his cross was blocked out for a corner by Brayan Beckless. Ibarra’s ensuing corner failed to beat the first defender and Club América’s attack fizzled out without coming anywhere close to the goal.
Through the first 25 minutes of the match it was Necaxa who had been the much more dangerous team. Essentially los Rayos were sitting back and taking advantage of errant Club América passes to launch counter attacks. The young Necaxa squad was really making life difficult for the Águilas midfield and defenders with their lightning quick speed.
In the 18th minute Necaxa should have had a penalty when Bruno Valdez brought down a Necaxa attacking player inside the box. However, in a shocking display of refereeing play was allowed to continue despite what appeared to be a clear penalty. Valdez stuck out his leg, brought down the attacker and then prevented him from getting back up and continuing the play. Despite the clear foul, the referee allowed play to continue.
Ten minutes after what should have been a clear penalty in favor of los Rayos, Renato Ibarra who had been the only bright spot for Club América in the first half raced through the heart of the defense and attempted to chip the ball over Hugo González and open the scoring for las Águilas. Unfortunately for Ibarra, his shot hung in the air just a second too long and allowed González the chance to push the ball over the top of the cross bar.
Six minutes after nearly taking the lead, las Águilas once again turned the ball over in the midfield and allowed Necaxa to break away on the counter. This time however, Víctor Dávila was allowed to go 1 v 1 against Bruno Valdez and the young Chilean mad las Águilas pay as his shot from the top of the box found the back of the net. There was absolutely nothing that Bruno Valdez or goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín could have done to prevent the shot from finding its way into the back of the net.
Las Águilas seemed to be reenergized by the Necaxa goal and took a much more direct path towards the goal. In the 41st minute after flying down the right side of the pitch on the counter, the ball was passed to Renato Ibarra just outside of the area who fired an absolute cannon of a shot towards Hugo González in the Necaxa goal. Once again the Mexican goalkeeper was up for the task. This time he made a flying save to prevent Ibarra’s shot from finding the top corner.
Miguel Herrera made the first substitution of the match at the half by bringing on Oribe Peralta for Joe Corona who failed to make much of an impact on the first half of the match. Directly out of the half, las Águilas caused trouble for the Necaxa defense. Paul Aguilar’s shot from inside the area was deflected out for a corner that dangerously bounced around inside of the Necaxa area before Roger Martinez’s header went well wide of the goal.
Through the first 10 minutes of the second half Club América looked like an entirely different team than they did in the first half. Instead of just aimlessly passing the ball in the midfield with very little movement from the attacking players, las Águilas began to crisply pass the ball and players off of the ball began to move into space with purpose in order to get on the end of passes in dangerous positions. In particular, the movement of Oribe Peralta around the area was opening up space for everything happening on the attacking side of the ball for Club América.
Club América continued to to dominate much of the action in the second half, but with little to no reward for it. Despite having the vast majority of possession, las Águilas struggled to break down Necaxa who had begun to drop back and form a more compact defensive line between the midfielders and defenders. Then in the 68th minute Necaxa took advantage of yet another errant pass in the midfield and very narrowly took a 2-0 lead. Luckily for las Águilas, the close range shot flew well over the goal.
Three minutes after narrowly falling behind 2-0, Club América were finally able to break down the Necaxa defense. After quickly flying down the middle of the field, Roger Martinez got omg the end of a pass at the top of the area spun around his defender and fired the ball into the back of the net to tie the match.
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Almost instantly after allowing Club América to tie up the match, los Rayos found themselves back in the lead. Yet another lightning quick counter attack lead to a goal for Necaxa. This time it was Brian Fernández who found himself all alone in front of goal to slot home passed a helpless Agustín Marchesín.
After giving up the second goal, las Águilas went on the all out attack. Despite having the vast majority of the possession following Necaxa’s second goal, Club América were unable to break down los Rayos defense. Several times they came close, but there really wasn't another clear opportunity for Club América in the match.