After what seemed like a nightmare that lasted ages for Cruz Azul fans, they’ve finally awoken from their bad dream. Or so it seems. Before last night’s victory in Pachuca, it had been 53 days since ‘La Máquina’ last drank from the victory well, which was the first leg of the Liga MX Semi-Final against Pumas. Since then, they had played four official matches, all ending in losses.
Just three days after defeating Pumas with a resounding 4-0 back in December, they visited CU with a very accomplishable mission: don’t lose by 4 goals. After suffering that historic playoff elimination, they turned to prepare for the CONCACAF CL, where they would face LAFC in the QF. After taking an early lead, Cruz Azul let another lead slip through their fingers, conceding a heartbreaking goal 20 minutes from the final whistle, from which they never recovered. In a matter of a week and a half, they’d committed two “Cruzazuleadas” in a row.
With the franchise beginning the new year in absolute shambles due to their administrative problems as well as Siboldi stepping down as head coach, the situation was diresome to say the very least. A mediocre performance in Torreón led them to kick off the season with a 1-0 loss to Santos, and that was followed by another 1-0 loss, this time at home to the hands of Puebla, in what was a horrific display by Reynoso and company.
This isn’t to say that yesterday’s win was a resurrection of sorts and all looked good with the squad. It was, in the most part, a directionless performance by the visitors that ended in a 1-0 victory for ‘La Máquina’ which featured a parade of missed opportunities by the home side, including a penalty miss as well as a couple of last minute clear opportunities. In other words, objectively speaking, Cruz Azul should’ve suffered their third loss of the season. It was Pachuca’s awful aim which handed Reynoso’s team the three points.
However, the reality for this hurting club is they got the win (their first of 2021) and have at least remembered they’re still capable of doing just that with this extremely talented squad. Not to mention, they did it without star midfielder Luis Romo. As this team continues to struggle to recover its identity, the pieces that were 90 minutes away from the league final are still right there. It’s simply a matter of them regaining their confidence and believing they can get back to that prime level of play they displayed in the first leg against Pumas not even two months ago. We’ll see if this win triggers just that.