Chivas dominated most of their repechaje match and should have gotten a better score, but were still able to get through to the Liguilla with a 1-0 win over Necaxa. Chivas was the better ranked team, but injuries to top players Alexis Vega and Jose Juan Macias meant the team was coming in at a disadvantage. They were still able to prevail, although their attack in the final third was lackluster compared to how much possession they had. Necaxa meanwhile wasted most of the match, and although they tried in the final minutes they simply weren’t good enough. Chivas will now have to wait to see which team they face in their quarterfinal match.
The first half started with Chivas having to go out with Angel Zaldivar to replace Jose Juan Macias/Alexis Vega on the offense. Meanwhile Necaxa had their best starting lineup. After a couple of even minutes, Zaldivar had the first shot on goal, a shot that was deflected for a corner kick. Later Fernando Beltran got a shot deflected into a corner kick. Chivas continued to dominate the game, and Zaldivar could have had a good chance but his header bounced off a Necaxa defender. Chivas had another good opportunity after a mistake from Necaxa gave the ball to Uriel Antuna, but after a series of plays, it ended with a wide shot by Zaldivar. While Chivas was more intense and dominating possession, they were starting to fail to create dangerous situations and Zaldivar’s movements that had been surprising, stopped being effective. Chivas had another good chance when Antuna got a shot in the area that was deflected by a defender into another corner kick. Minutes later Antuna would have another good opportunity, but it got deflected again. Chivas had the best chance of the game when after a great play, Chivas defender Gilberto Sepulveda got a shot past Necaxa’s keeper Luis Malagon but it hit the post. Chivas continued to dominate but the halftime whistle blew and the great first half had not produced the goal they needed.
The second half started with Necaxa making two substitutions to try to balance things. Maxi Salas and Mario de Luna were subbed in for Alejandro Zendejas and Jahir Pereira. Chivas started to pressure, and Isaac Brizuela got a shot that went wide. Brizuela would get another opportunity, but he was called offside and he had already bounced his shot into Malagon. Chivas would finally break through when after a great pass by Zaldivar, Jesús Ricardo Angulo got past Necaxa’s defenders and into the area where his left footed shot went past Malagon for the 1-0 lead that was a long time coming.
Necaxa immediately tried to answer by subbing in Joao Rodriguez for Ian Gonzalez. Necaxa had their first opportunity when Lucas Passerini got to the ball in the area, but his shot was blocked by Chivas’ keeper Raul Gudiño. Chivas almost had a great chance of a counter, but Angulo’s great pass to Antuna was cut off by Malagon in a great read by the Necaxa keeper. Necaxa made their last move by subbing out David Cabrera for Fernando Arce, Jr. and Claudio Baeza for Yerko Leiva. Chivas could have had a great opportunity when Fernando Beltran made a great pass to Miguel Angel Ponce, but he surprisingly failed to shoot and the ball was cleared by Necaxa’s defense. Necaxa tried to answer back and got a bicycle kick attempt from Passerini that Gudiño easily handled. Chivas made their first move by subbing out Angel Zaldivar for Eduardo Torres. Minutes later they would sub out Jesus Molina for Antonio Briseño. Necaxa started pushing hard for the goal, and for the first time in the game, they were controlling the possession and pushing a Chivas team that started to sit back. Chivas tried to correct things by subbing out Fernando Beltran for Christian Calderon and Uriel Antuna for Ronaldo Cisneros. In the last minutes of the game, Necaxa had a chance when Rodriguez got off a shot that forced Gudiño to make a save and send the ball for a corner kick. In the ensuing corner kick, Necaxa came close to scoring but the play was ruled offside after goalkeeper Luis Malagon got the last header. The ref blew the whistle and gave Chivas the ticket to the quarterfinals.
Chivas played at times the best they had played in the season, but they should have done better against a Necaxa team that was a total disappointment on Saturday. Chivas did miss Macias and Vega and Uriel Antuna didn’t have his best game either, but they were able to pull through on great performances from players like Angulo and Hiram Mier. Chivas needs to improve for the quarterfinals, regardless of which team they face. Yet so far Chivas got past the first hurdle and if they get back Macias, they can legit be a big threat for place in the semifinals.