Cruz Azul and America failed to live up to expectations as they tied 0-0 in the latest version of the Clasico Joven. Cruz Azul and America had a very even match and showed some exciting play in the first half, but the second half had a decrease of play as America sat back and Cruz Azul failed to break them down as their offensive display became less and less cohesive as time went by. Club America will now face their third straight Clasico as they stay in Mexico City to face Pumas, while Cruz Azul will have to make a short trip to Toluca to face the local team next Sunday at 12:00 PM.
The first half started with the news that Guillermo Ochoa, America’s starting keeper, got injured in the warmups to the game and would not play. Oscar Jimenez took his place. After a couple of even minutes, America had the best chance when Giovani Dos Santos made a great cross that found a wide open Sebastian Cordova, but he incredibly sent it wide in what was a bad miss. Cruz Azul responded with a good combination play that ended with a shot by Jonathan Rodriguez that went straight into Jimenez. America would be the next to have a good opportunity when a shot by Cordova forced a save from Cruz Azul’s keeper Jesus Corona. Later it was Henry Martin who got a great cross from Dos Santos that he headed, forcing Corona to make another good stop. Cruz Azul had the next chance when off a counter, Elias Hernandez got off a shot that was deflected, forcing Jimenez to make a good save. Later it was Santiago Gimenez who made a run and went past Sebastian Caceres, only for his shot to be stopped by Jimenez. Caceres looked to have been injured in the play and had to be subbed out for Ramon Juarez. After an early dominance of possession by America, Cruz Azul had taken control of the match and were the most dangerous team. Cruz Azul came close again when they got a free header off a corner kick, but luckily for America it went straight to Jimenez. The halftime whistle blew as America hoped to regroup.
The second half started and the first minutes had Cruz Azul returning to go on the attack. There was a controversial play when Jose Rivero fell in the area after a clash with Jimenez. The ref ruled it not to be a penalty, although replays showed that there was a possibility it could have been awarded. Later there was another injury after Emmanuel Aguilera fell and had to be subbed out for Sebastian Caseres, the second substitution America had to make because of injury and third movement if you count Ochoa’s pre-game injury. Cruz Azul continued to have control of the game. Cruz Azul made their first move by subbing out Elias Hernandez (who had a poor game) for Yoshimar Yotun. America needed to respond and subbed out Gio Dos Santos, Nicolas Benedetti and Sebastian Cordova for Federico Viñas, Leo Suarez and Andres Ibarguen. Cruz Azul meanwhile subbed out Gimenez for Roberto Alvarado. Cruz Azul continued to attack and dominate possession, but they weren’t creating as much danger as they looked more desperate and less cohesive than before. The game had a similar feel to the match against Chivas, when America sat back to defend the lead. This time it looked they were settling for the draw. Cruz Azul tried to get something going by subbing out Orbelin Pineda (who also had a poor game) for Misael Dominguez. Dominguez almost made an impact when he got a shot in the area that Jimenez stopped into a corner kick. In the best chance of the whole game, Jonathan Rodriguez had a one-on-one against the keeper and looked like he had been pulled outside the area, losing his balance when he shot it straight to keeper Jimenez, who made a good save. After the play, Rodriguez and Jimenez got into a shoving fight that spread to Cruz Azul and America players. It turned out to be the last meaningful play as the whistle blew and a disappointing Clasico Joven ended.
Cruz Azul and America looked set to bring up an interesting game but failed to deliver. Cruz Azul came into the week in first place (although Leon had jumped over them two hours before after defeating Atletico San Luis) while America was in third. Yet although they had a good first half, the game turned into a defensive display from America which cooled things considerably, just like it had happened in their game against Chivas. Cruz Azul tried to be the more offensive team for most of the game, but they should also be taken to task for the lack of order in doing so as time passed and desperation settled in. In the end Cruz Azul is right now in second place and America continues in third, but both fans shouldn’t be happy as the pattern of lack of excitement in Clasicos during the season continue (Saturday’s Clasico Regio between Monterrey and Tigres also had a disappointing level of play). America will have the chance to make things better in their last Clasico of the season against Pumas while Cruz Azul should have an easier task as they travel to nearby Toluca to face the struggling local team.