Cruz Azul once again crushed their city rivals as they closed out the group stages, downing America 4-1. While America took an early lead, a terrible start to the second half ended up severely complicating America’s chances in the Tournament while Cruz Azul clinched first place with nine points out of a possible nine. America will now have to wait for the result between Pumas and Toluca to see if they are eliminated from the tournament, or they play in the semifinals. While Toluca is already eliminated, a 2-0 win by Pumas will eliminate America and give the ticket to the semis to Pumas.
The game started with both teams coming out with very solid starting lineups for the Clasico Joven. After a couple of tough minutes with a lot of clashes between players, America was the one who opened the scoring. Sebastian Cordova went out and won the ball off Yoshimar Yotun and then got off a great long range shot past Goalkeeper Jesus Corona for the 1-0. It was a great play from Cordova who got the ball and made the play.
Cruz Azul tried to get back with Jonathan Rodriguez having a chance but his shot was stopped by America’s keeper, Guillermo Ochoa. America continued and a shot from Giovani Dos Santos from outside the area went wide. Later Richard Sanchez had another shot from outside the area, but it went wide. It looked like America had a goal from a chip by Giovani Dos Santos but it was called offside. Cruz Azul made the best play so far when Rodriguez made a great move that got him alone against the keeper, but his shot was saved by Ochoa. Then in the ensuing corner kick after a deflection, America’s Federico Viñas headed the ball past Ochoa to tie the game 1-1 after the own goal. After the goal, Cruz Azul went on the offense and a shot from Orbelin Pineda came close to going in. Still, America held on and the half ended tied.
The second half started with all out action. After a great pass, Jonathan Rodriguez went through the left side and was allowed by two America defenders to get his shot off and past keeper Ochoa for the 2-1. America responded with Federico Viñas getting the ball in the area but he took too long to shoot and Corona got to the ball. Then America lost the ball when Jesus Escoboza tried to play it through, but instead Cruz Azul got the ball back. Cruz Azul then found Alexis Gutierrez in the area and he got a strong left footed shot past Ochoa for the 3-1.
America panicked after the goal and started going on the offense. This lead to a great counter attack when Jonathan Rodriguez got into the area and waited until he found Orbelin Pineda. Pineda got a shot off and the shot went through for the 4-1. America got rocked by the goals and came close again when a deflected shot almost went in. With the win almost guaranteed, Cruz Azul started subbing out players like Rodriguez and Elias Hernandez. Cruz Azul had another chance when a shot from outside the area went over the ball and later a shot from Alexis Gutierrez hit the post. America finally started to react and got several dangerous attacks from the left side, but they didn’t pan out. Keeper Sebastian Jurado had been subbed in for Corona, and he handled a shot from a free kick from America. America started to get frustrated knowing they were going to lose and a couple of scuffles broke out after fouls in the final minutes. In the end the score didn’t change and Cruz Azul left in high spirits while America looked defeated as they complicated things in the tournament.
After a lot of complications before the tournament because a string of positive COVID-19 tests, Cruz Azul has been the surprise of the tournament. They started with a 4-1 win over Pumas and after a 1-0 win against Toluca, they closed out by crushing their biggest rival America. The win is a huge boost to Cruz Azul fans, who were frustrated that the Clausura 2020 tournament was cancelled when they were in first place. Meanwhile, after a good start to the tournament, America is rocked by the loss. America will now have to wait until the Pumas game to see if they qualify but if they don’t, the tournament will be seen as a terrible result as fans clamor because of the embarrassment of losing to their rivals Cruz Azul by such a score. If they do get through, their fans will expect a different attitude because otherwise they would be set for further frustration as it is probable they won’t win the tournament unless they improve their level a lot.