Cruz Azul will remain in first place but couldn’t get the record for longest winning streak when they tied 1-1 with Club America. In a battle between first and second place teams, Cruz Azul and America disappointed somewhat. The match was very even and with not much excitement, being decided with two penalty kicks. Cruz Azul’s record remained at 12 straight wins which ties them with Necaxa in1934-1935 and Leon in the Clausura 2019. They will now remain in Mexico City before they host struggling Atletico San Luis while America travels nearby to face Toluca, as both teams are set to qualify to the Liguilla.
The first half started with America not having Sebastian Cordova or Henry Martin, both of which are injured. Cruz Azul came out with their normal lineup. As expected, the first minutes were very even. America had the first opportunity when a cross by Mauro Lainez came close to going in but it went just wide. America had a good oportunity when Federico Viñas got a header, but the ball went into the hands of Cruz Azul’s goalkeeper Jesus Corona. Cruz Azul got their first opportunity off a corner kick when Rafael Bacca got a shot that was almost deflected into the net, but it went wide. It looked like America had a clear opportunity when Alvaro Fidalgo fell in the area after a slide from Roberto Alvarado but the ref didn’t call a penalty kick and gave him a yellow card. He then went to VAR and corrected himself by giving the penalty and taking away the yellow card. Emmanuel Aguilera stepped up to take the penalty and although Corona came close to stopping it, Aguilera’s right footed shot went past him for the 1-0. Cruz Azul almost responded with a shot from Alvarado that came close but it was just wide. The game continued and it the score remained with a one goal lead for the home side.
The second half started with neither side making a substitution. Roger Martinez got a shot off that Corona easily saved. It looked like Cruz Azul had a chance for a penalty after Luis Romo was brought down in the area, but the play was ruled correctly as offside. America wasted a two-on-one opportunity when Mauro Lainez got past Jose Martinez and had a one-on-one against Corona, but got off a horrible shot over Corona, the goal, and probably into the empty stands. Cruz Azul made their first moves by subbing out Jose Martinez and Rafael Bacca for Elias Hernandez and Brayan Angulo. Martinez came close again with a shot that was just wide. America then made their first move by subbing out Roger Martinez for Leonardo Suarez. Cruz Azul had a good opportunity when Romo got a shot in the area, but he accidentally deflected it wide with his other foot. Cruz Azul then subbed out Orbelin Pineda and Pol Fernandez for Yoshimar Yotun and Walter Montoya. America started to sit back, as Cruz Azul was controlling possession and most of the attacks for the first time in the match. Then after a cross by Ignacio Rivero, the ball deflected off a corner kick by Mauro Lainez’s arm and the ref went to check on VAR, giving a penalty kick to Cruz Azul. Jonathan Rodriguez stepped up to take the shot and got it past America’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to tie the match with the 1-1. America then subbed out Alvaro Fidalgo for Santiago Naveda. America had a good opportunity when Luis Fuentes got a wide open long range shot, but it went wide. After America lost the ball, Cruz Azul had a great opportunity but Santiago Caseres was able to get to the ball and head it out before it reached Angulo. The last minutes had some more attacks from Cruz Azul, but nothing as dangerous and the match ended with the tie.
America and Cruz Azul were expected to play one of the best games of the season, but predictably it was an even match with few exciting opportunities. Cruz Azul at times looked to be over matched by an America side that could have killed the game with Mauro Lainez’s opportunity. Yet in the final minutes they bounced back after the penalty kick and did enough to get a deserved tie. Both teams are qualified straight through to the Liguilla, and the only question is if Cruz Azul will remain in first place. It looks likely they will do so, with the two matches left against Atletico San Luis and Tijuana, two of the worst teams currently in Liga MX. America will have a tougher task against Toluca and Pumas, but they should also look to likely be favored in both matches. Both teams will now have to start planning for a possible future encounter in the Liguilla, were they should be favored to reach the final.