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Cristian Calderon lifts Chivas to the semifinals with back to back wins over Club America

Chivas defeats America 2-1 to give them a 3-1 aggregate victory in their Quarterfinal series.

via @Chivas

Off Cristian Calderon’s left foot, Chivas got their second victory over their biggest rival and qualified to the semifinals after a 2-1 win in the second leg. Calderon scored all three goals in both games, and they were all great left footed shots to give Chivas the ticket to the semifinals and almost single-handedly beat America. Club America once again had opportunities, but another terrible game from their strikers allowed Chivas the opportunity to go through, especially since their lack of an away goal gave them a lot of trouble once Chivas scored. Chivas will now wait for the results of the Pumas vs Pachuca series to see who they face in the semifinals, while America will have to prepare for the return of the Concacaf Champions League in December.

The first half started with Chivas surprising most fans by starting with Oribe Peralta at forward. Also surprising was how Fernando Beltran wasn’t in the starting lineup while Alan Torres was. Also missing was Jesus Ricardo Angulo, who couldn’t get back from his injury in the first leg. Meanwhile for America, they were going out with both Henry Martin and Federico Viñas up top, a clear sign that they were going to look for the goal from the start. A minute into the game, the Chivas’ changes almost paid off when Peralta lowered a ball for Torres, whose shot went wide in what could’ve been a great chance. Chivas would waste a golden opportunity when after mistake off a free kick, Jesus Molina got a free header in front of the area but his header went well wide in an incredible opportunity. Chivas had started as the better team but had wasted clear chances that could cost them later on. America would have their first real chance when Sebastian Cordova got a long range shot that Chivas’ keeper, Raul Gudiño, handled easily. Later it was Viñas who came close with a header as America suddenly started getting their opportunities. America would come super close again when Jorge Sanchez send a low cross into the area that Viñas came just inches away from getting to and pushing it into the net. Just as it looked like America was the better team, an almost copycat play came that gave Chivas the lead. Oribe Peralta found Cristian Calderon from outside the area and just like in the first leg, he got an incredible long range left footed shot that went past America’s keeper, Guillermo Ochoa, for the 1-0 lead.

America seemed to get desperate and subbed out Richard Sanchez for Nicolas Benedetti, making an offensive substitution in the first half. America came close to a tie when Sebastian Caceres rose on a corner kick to head the ball just wide. Chivas had a good chance in a counter attack when Uriel Antuna found Torres, but his shot went wide. America answered with a good play in the area where Cordova was able to head the ball to Viñas, but his shot in the area went wide, wasting a good chance. In the final minute of the half, Viñas went down after a bad tackle by Hiram Mier in what could’ve been a possible red but only got him a yellow card. The ref went to VAR and kept the ruling as a yellow. The ref blew the whistle and Chivas took the lead to halftime.

The second half started with both teams coming up with the 11 players they finished the first half with. America started pushing on the offense from the start and America had an incredible opportunity that they wasted. After a header by Viñas, Henry Martin got the ball inches from the goal and with Gudiño out of position, but his shot was blocked by Gilberto Sepulveda on the goal line. America kept pushing as Chivas started to sit back and wait for counter attacks. Chivas would have a good chance when Antuna made a great play in the area, but his shot went wide. After that play, America subbed out Giovani Dos Santos for Sergio Diaz. After a mistake by Miguel Angel Ponce, America got a chance, but Henry Martin’s shot went straight to Gudiño. After Emanuel Aguilera got injured, he was subbed out for Emilio Sanchez, ending America’s substitutions at three. Chivas had a great counter with Peralta finding Antuna, who made a great play but his good shot was brilliantly saved by Ochoa. Chivas then subbed out Peralta, who battled hard but had no legs and subbed in defender Antonio Briseño. On the corner kick, once again Antuna got off a shot that went wide. After America had a couple of close attacks, Chivas finally got their counter attack. Uriel Antuna went on and found Cristian Calderon outside the area, and once again he got off a great left footed shot into the post and to the net for the 2-0 lead.

Chivas had another great opportunity when Antuna got a right footed shot that Ochoa saved and then in a counter attack from that play, Henry Martin got into the area and got off a right footed shot past Gudiño to make it 2-1 and throw America a lifeline. America got a boost but they needed to get three goals to get to the Semifinals. America then had another chance that Viñas blew. After that play, Chivas subbed out Antuna and Calderon for Ronaldo Cisneros and Fernando Beltran. America continued to try to get on the scoreboard, but they failed to do much as Chivas sat back after the second goal. Chivas made their final sub by subbing out Isaac Brizuela for Adrian Villalobos. Chivas was able to hold on after the change and the ref blew the whistle, giving Chivas the win and one of their biggest moments, if not the biggest in their post-Almeyda history.

Chivas’ win over Club America is a huge boost for the club and Coach Victor Manuel Vucetich. After a number of years were America had the upper hand, they were finally able to break the streak. The performance by Cristian Calderon will cement his name in Chivas’ history after he was key in both wins by scoring all of the goals. Chivas had some great moments over America, but their lack of forwards because of injuries meant that they couldn’t do much on offense. If it wasn’t because of Calderon, the result most likely wouldn’t have happened.

Club America meanwhile will rue their awful finishing, as they had the opportunities in both legs and did a terrible job on offense. Fans will be on the club to get rid of Coach Miguel Herrera, but America has to get back into action soon with the Concacaf Champions League allowing an opportunity to get back to competition and get rid of the sour taste that losing to your biggest rival will give their fans up until the end of 2020.