After having witnessed one of the biggest collapses by a team in Liga MX history, if not the biggest, Pumas fans around the country celebrated euphorically, with heaping praise toward their players and organization. And rightfully so, as a comeback of this magnitude would be impossible to ignore or be made less in any way. And despite Cruz Azul’s players showing an absolute lack of interest in regaining ball possession toward the end of the match especially, many people have chosen to rather praise Pumas’ effort and persistent mentality. And once again, rightfully so.
With all of this being said, the 180° change in Cruz Azul players’ intensity, attitude, and even quality (both defensively and offensively) hasn’t ceased to puzzle me. Such an atrocious contrast with only three days difference should be enough to leave anyone wondering what in the world happened. Well, that answer just might have found its way to us. ESPN’s Héctor Huerta confirmed yesterday, in an interview with Sergio Dipp, that some of Cruz Azul’s players received a phone call prior to Sunday’s second leg match where they were asked to throw the game. Just who was on the other side of the line remains unclear.
“Something happened vs. Pumas. Some players received phone calls. Some players were tempted through their ear (referring to said phone call). I think there are many things yet to be investigated in Cruz Azul that are still unknown.” Dipp went on to question Huerta on exactly what type of temptations he referred to, to which Huerta responded: “All types of temptations. Very dangerous ones, that once they’re known will cause a great scandal. For now, the players know they have to lay their heads and conscience on a pillow, so every night they do, the ones who did will know how many of them collaborated on this rowdy failure on how they went on to lose 4-0 after having won 4-0, simply because some of them didn’t like the head coach.” It’s important to add that the ESPN analyst mentioned he was in the process of collecting evidence for these claims, as he isn’t quite there yet, but he believes he will have enough of it at some point.
The last part adds an extra piece to the puzzle as to the speculation regarding Siboldi announcing his departure from the club yesterday morning. One could wonder how, after such a great start to the cancelled Clausura 2020, followed by a solid Guard1anes 2020 campaign along with a near Final appearance, he’d just call it quits, with an apparently bright, up and coming future for La Máquina. It all makes more sense now, considering he wasn’t liked by some players, leading to a possible loss of the locker room on his part.
Héctor Huerta is one of the most trusted voices in Mexican Football, let alone ESPN. He wouldn’t be putting his job and career on the line with such strong comments if there wasn’t a certain degree of truth to it or if he didn’t trust his sources enough. One hopes to never run into these kinds of accusals in professional sports (or at any level of sports for that matter), but when there are crazy amounts of money and such high stakes involved in these games, we all know these types of instances could arise at any moment. Hopefully Huerta is wrong, but considering his successful track record and level of credibility, we could be looking at one of the biggest scandals in Mexican Football history being just around the corner.