You love to see it.
A stranger is in the box for Mexican side Pachuca. The young Atletico Madrid players that are left react as they notice an extra body in neon yellow is creeping in front of their syndicate. The 70 minutes of regulation time is up and the game is about a minute-and-a-half of stoppage time away from having a Spanish team’s name on the trophy. Or so it would seem.
There’s nothing quite like a last-second soccer goal. It means even more when it comes against an elite team. It means EVEN more when it’s in a final. It means EVEN MORE (x2) when it comes from an unlikely source. A story straight from every soccer fan’s dreams? A tall tale told by the soccer gods sprinkled in fiction? Nope, it actually happened during a Mexican youth international tournament final this past Aug. 25.
As Pachuca were down 2-1, 16-year-old goalkeeper Betuel Sanchez did what almost all keepers during a last-minute corner kick and left his box completely unguarded to become an extra man in the area.
What happened next was pure madness. Sanchez did his best Moisés Muñoz and Oscar “Conejo” Perez impression and completely nailed it. He rose the highest on the pitch and connected beautifully with his head to put a ball behind Atletico keeper Antonio Gomis and level the game at 2-2. A goal Sanchez will surely remember for the rest of his life, his heroics injected oxygen through Los Tuzos and sent the match into a penalty shootout.
The craziness didn’t end there. Literal seconds after his game-saving goal, Pachuca coach Jan Westerhof—son of former PSV, Chivas, Necaxa and Pachuca first-team coach Hans Westerhof—decided to pull Sanchez out of the match and sub in backup goalie Fernando Carreon to face the penalties.
It was this decision by the Dutch manager that mirrored what his birth nation did in one 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match against Costa Rica when Tim Krul came on for Jasper Cillessen after extra time and followed that by saving two penalties that sent La Oranje through to the semifinals.
The result was the same for Westerhof but Carreon did one better by saving four of Atletico’s penalties and scoring Pachuca’s last one for good measure.
Penalties start at 4:34
Bizarre doesn’t even begin to describe the action that occurred in the 75+ minutes at the Estadio Azteca on August 25. In the end, both of Pachuca’s keepers earned their team the title thanks to both their defensive and offensive exploits during the match. How often do you see that?
All of this fails to mention how before any of this, Pachuca was actually down 2-0 with about three minutes until the end of the match and that they were playing with ten men after defender Jorge Berlanga recieved a red card in the 44th minute, meanwhile, Atletico was playing without three players plus their head coach after red cards to Lucas Ricoy (62’), Ibraima Camara (65’), coach Angel Donato (66’) and Javier Curras (70’).
Coming behind the Pachuca greats such as Miguel Calero and the aforementioned Conejo Perez, Sanchez told ESPN after the match that “Pachuca is one of the institutions that best produces goalkeepers like my teammate (Carreon) and myself, we’re both happy.”
The Sub Internacional tournament was an eight-team youth tournament held in Mexico with seven matchdays for each team plus a final involving the two most successful teams over the matchdays. Youth teams involved this season included Pachuca, Tijuana, Chivas and Cruz Azul from Mexico, Seattle Sounders FC and FC Dallas from the U.S., Atletico Madrid from Spain and Universidad Catolica from Chile.
You can follow Antonio on Twitter @antonio1998__