America didn’t excite most fans, but they grabbed a 2-1 victory in their Apertura 2020 debut away in Pachuca. After a 1st half where they were somewhat dominated, America came out swinging and took advantage of a red card to get a lead and hold on for their first three points of the tournament. Pachuca meanwhile had most of the possession but they failed to do much with it, and overall had a very disappointing performance in the loss. America will now face their first home game in the Estadio Olimpico Universitario when they face Xolos on Saturday as Estadio Azteca is under construction, while Pachuca will have a tough away match in Monterrey against Tigres.
The game started with both teams having to play under wet conditions. Those conditions seemed to take an effect on the game when eight minutes in, it looked like America’s defender Emmanuel Aguilera got injured and had to come out for Sebastian Caceres. Pachuca had the first good chance in attack when Jorge Hernandez got a shot from just outside the area and forced Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to make a tough save. Later Pachuca came close again, but defender Bruno Valdez got to the ball in the last second to deflect it out for a corner kick. Pachuca continued having more possession of the ball while America sat back and tried to counter unsuccessfully. Pachuca came very close to scoring when off a free kick, Pachuca surprised America by crossing the ball into the area and Felipe Pardo headed from near range, but it went wide. America didn’t get a chance until the 40th minute when off a free kick, Sebastian Cordova headed the ball and forced Pachuca’s keeper Oscar Ustari to make a save. Pachuca looked to have countered when Ismael Sosa got into the area and looked like he was taken down, but the ref ruled that it wasn’t a foul. In injury time, Pachuca had another chance when Felipe Pardo got a shot in the area but it went wide. At halftime it remained a scoreless game with not a lot of action.
The second half started with a lot more action than in the first half. Roger Martinez got a ball in the area a minute in and got a good shot that forced Ustari to make a great save. America had to make another move because of injury when Andres Ibarguen had to be subbed out and Jesus Escoboza came in. It looked like a bad situation for America, but things would change when after a dumb foul by Jorge Hernandez, the ref showed him a second yellow card and Pachuca went down to 10 players. America took advantage of being up a player and after a couple of even minutes, they took the lead. Roger Martinez made a great play in the area but the shot was deflected by a Pachuca defender straight into the path of Federico Viñas, who got the ball and shot the ball past Ustari for the 1-0 lead.
America’s joy was very short lived however when Sebastian Caseres got a red cared after getting his second yellow card and gave away the advantage that America had. Pachuca tried to be more offensive by subbing out Luis Chavez for forward Roberto Nurse as they looked for the tie. Pachuca kept at it but with very little offensive ideas, while America sat back after going down to 10 players. Then after Sebastian Cordova got brought down in the area by Oscar Murillo, a penalty kick got called. Cordova took the PK and with a left footed shot, he scored the 2-0. America had another chance from a shot by Richard Sanchez. Then in the last minute, Colin Kazim-Richards got brought down by Sebastian Caceres and the ref gave a penalty to Pachuca. Kazim-Richards took the PK and converted it for the 2-1. Still there was no time for much play after the conversion and America got the victory.
Both America and Pachuca leave a lot to be desired in their first game of the season. America gets the victory and a bright start points wise, which is what matters, but overall fans aren’t going to be happy with the style of play as America at times sat back a lot and looked lethargic in the first half. Meanwhile Pachuca keeps disappointing under coach Paulo Pezzolano and their display on Monday, especially after going down 1-0, left a lot to be desired. They will have to pick it up soon as they face a tough match against Tigres, while America will also have a tough match at home against a Pablo Guede coached Xolos, a club that many consider to be this tournament’s dark horse.