America handled Chivas en route to a 1-0 win in the Superclasico. It wasn’t the most exciting game, but America did well and got the deserved result as they were the better team. Coach Miguel Herrera had the upper hand, as they had the answer against a Chivas team that once again looked to be without any offensive ideas, a constant with the team since being under Coach Luis Fernando Tena and now with Victor Manuel Vucetich. America will now face another Clasico as they face Cruz Azul next Sunday in Estadio Azteca (Cruz Azul will be the home team but they share Azteca with America) while Chivas now will have the pressure on them as they face their first game against Mazatlan FC.
The first half started with Chivas having a more offensive lineup than previous games, starting with Cristian Calderon, Uriel Antuna. and Dieter Villalpando instead of Miguel Ponce, Jesus Ricardo Angulo, and Fernando Beltran. America meanwhile surprised many by starting Giovani Dos Santos as Federico Viñas was injured. After Chivas went into the attack, America caught them in a counter that forced Gilberto Sepulveda to bring down, Nicolas Benedetti and get a yellow card in the process. Minutes later, Benedetti had a great chance in the area, but his header was well saved by Chivas’ keeper Raul Gudiño. Later it was Dos Santos who had a shot just outside the area but it went wide. Chivas had their first opportunity when Jose Juan Macias went alone against the keeper but his shot went straight into the arms of America’s keeper, Guillermo Ochoa. Later Macias would get a header that would also went straight into Ochoa’s arms. As the game continued, Chivas was starting to dominate possession as America had less opportunities to counter. America did have a great counter attack that finished with Henry Martin getting a left footed shot in the area but it went wide. Then just outside the area, Gio Dos Santos surprised Chivas by taking a rocket shot that went into the top corner for the 1-0 lead. While Dos Santos had been a surprise to start, he had done quite well and was making a strong statement with his first goal of the season.
Chivas tried to answer back but America was ready for them, and it was America who came close again with a shot by Benedetti that barely got deflected by Calderon into a corner kick. Chivas had their best chance when off of a second play after a corner kick, Calderon rose to connect with a header but Ochoa made a great save. Not only was it a good stop but had he not gotten to it, Jesus Molina would have gotten an open net opportunity. Later Ochoa would make a good save off a shot by Isaac Brizuela, but he allowed a rebound that the America defenders easily cleared away. The halftime whistle blew and then came the controversy as replays showed that Antuna had fallen in the area. Surprisingly TV hadn’t shown the replay until later even when TUDN normally excessively shows replays, and the ref never went to VAR but it looked like a PK should have been given.
The second half started with America subbing out Emanuel Aguilera for youngster Ramon Juarez. America would have the first opportunity of the half when Chivas turned the ball over with a bad pass, giving America a counter that finished with a shot by Henry Martin that was blocked by a defender. Later America had another chance when Jorge Sanchez had a shot that Gudiño stepped up to save. Chivas tried to answer, but their offensive ideas once again where lackluster and depended on getting the ball to Antuna, who would try to get crosses into the area and fail at it. Chivas subbed out Jesus Molina, Cristian Calderon, and Jesus Sanchez for Jose Javier Vasquez, Miguel Ponce, and Javier Lopez. Almost immediately America had a good chance when Leo Surarez got the ball alone just outside the area, getting off a shot that went wide. Chivas started to get more possession, so America started subbing in players. They subbed out Dos Santos and Benedetti for Antonio Lopez and Sebastian Caseres in what looked to be a defensive move. America looked to have scored when Sebastian Cordova rose to head the ball past Gudiño but the ref ruled Henry Martin to have made a foul that stopped Chivas defender Ponce, and the ruling was maintained even after going to VAR. Later Chivas subbed out Dieter Villalpando for Jesus Ricardo Angulo. Chivas had a shot from Brizuela that easily fell to Ochoa, as Chivas tried to attack but had little idea about how to create any danger. America subbed in Roger Martinez for Leo Suarez, which was surprising since Martinez had come out of the previous game against Toluca because of injury. Chivas kept trying and subbed out Vega (who had a a lackluster game) for Oribe Peralta. America made their last substitution by taking out Henry Martin for Jesus Escoboza. Chivas continued to push up, but without creating dangerous chances until the 91st minute when a cross by Antuna reached Peralta, who got off a strong shot but it went wide. Later Sepulveda rose to get a header on a corner kick but it was easily saved by Ochoa. America held on the final minutes and after the ref whistled, there was a small scuffle as Chivas tried to regain what they failed to fight for the prior 90 minutes.
America fans might be mad at their coach for not being exciting enough, but once again Miguel Herrera showed to have control of his position as his team manhandled Chivas. Herrera knew how to disable Chivas, as once again the team was dependent on playing through the wings, and with Alexis Vega and Antuna not having the best game against an America side that knew how to counter them, they created even less than normal. America will continue in their streak of Clasicos, but they will get a boost of getting a victory in the most important one. Chivas meanwhile have suffered a huge defeat. Coach Victor Manuel Vucetich has failed to change things at Chivas, and with a loss against their biggest rival, his credit will begin to suffer. Although fans knew the team wasn’t playing well, a loss against America will make things clearer for everyone. While many fans are blaming the players, and they do deserve a lot of blame, the fact is the team has lacked a cohesive plan of attack and like most seasons, they have a weaker squad that fans realize. Chivas will need to improve to get to the Liguilla but right now the fans would suffer knowing that their biggest rival still has their number.