In the last Liga MX game before a stoppage over the COVID-19 virus, Cruz Azul came out on top in the Clasico Joven with a 1-0 win over Club America.
With the victory, Cruz Azul will go to 1st place just before the Liga MX stoppage. There is no word yet of when the league will return to action, but one thing that is certain is that Cruz Azul will be on top of the leader boards. When play does resume, Cruz Azul will travel to Puebla and America will remain at home to face 2nd place Leon.
America and Cruz Azul started the last game in Mexican football in the middle of a strong rain and slight hail for a while.
Cruz Azul had the first chance when Juan Escobar went through the defense but instead of crossing it to another player, the Paraguayan right-back shot it straight to America’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
America had a great opportunity when Luis Fuentes took a great shot that forced Cruz Azul’s keeper Jesus Corona to make a big save and give a corner kick. In the ensuing corner, America came close again when Henry Martin had an incredible miss with his near-range header going wide.
Cruz Azul later answered back when, off a counter, Roberto Alvarado had a clear chance but his left-footed shot went wide. America had another opportunity when Sebastian Cordova went through Cruz Azul’s defense but his shot went well wide.
Cruz Azul didn’t take long to answer back and Jonathan Rodriguez had a shot that Ochoa stopped. Ochoa made an even better stop minutes later when Rodriguez made a great play, taking on an America defender and finding himself clear in the area but his shot was superbly stopped by America’s keeper.
Off a corner kick, Cruz Azul came close to scoring when Ochoa didn’t come out for the cross but Luis Romo blew a wide open net with his header. Elias Hernandez had a great shot that forced Ochoa to make another great save. The halftime whistle blew and Ochoa had been the key figure for keeping the game scoreless.
The 2nd half started as Cruz Azul hoped to finally break through despite the performance of Ochoa while America hoped to improve from a weak finish in the 1st half. Cruz Azul had a great chance when Rodriguez found Santiago Gimenez in the area but his shot went wide. Then Juan Escobar made a great run on the right and sent a good low cross that found Jonathan Rodriguez, whose strong low shot finally was able to get past Ochoa for the 1-0.
Cruz Azul immediately subbed out forward Santiago Gimenez for a defender, Igor Lichnovsky, making people wonder if he was going to help the squad defend the lead and sit back. America countered by subbing in Federico Viñas for Giovani Dos Santos.
Cruz Azul came close again but Rodgriguez wasted a run from Orbelin Pineda by making too strong a pass and allowing Ochoa to get to it. A controversial moment looked to have occurred when Paul Aguilar got a yellow card for bringing down Adrian Aldrete while Cruz Azul players complained of it being a red card offense. Then, a couple of minutes later, it would be Aldrete who would be red carded after a strong tackle that injured Leonardo Suarez. However, referee Fernando Guerrero went to the VAR and decided to reverse the red and instead only gave a yellow card to Aldrete.
In the waning minutes, America came close on a corner kick but every player missed the cross from Cordova. Then in the last minute, after a free kick, it looked like Lichnovsky had pushed Bruno Valdez inside the box, although the contact wasn’t the strongest. Guerrero checked with VAR and gave the penalty kick anyway. Emanuel Aguilera took the PK, did a terrible job with it, and Corona was able to save it. The ref blew the whistle and Cruz Azul got the win and the top spot on the table.
Cruz Azul was the deserved winner in the game. America needed a great performance from keeper Guillermo Ochoa just to make it to halftime scoreless. They rarely threatened Corona and the only tough save that was made by Corona in the 2nd half was the penalty kick that Aguilera missed. Since we don’t have any idea how both teams will be physically when Liga MX returns to action, it’s tough to predict what will happen, but right now, it’s Cruz Azul who is playing at a higher level and America will hope to regain players from injuries during the time off as Las Aguilas’ level is not the most optimal.