The preseason friendly competition, Copa por Mexico returned with a terrible match between Cruz Azul and Necaxa. With almost no fans in the stands (the match was played in Toluca, which will host the matches along with Estadio Olimpico Universitario) the match had the expected level of a preseason game, with a lackluster effort from both teams up until the end. Cruz Azul will face Pumas on Friday, while Necaxa gets to play against America on Thursday.
The first half started with both teams coming out with a mixture of normal starters and youngsters. Incredibly 10 minutes into the match and on a play that didn’t look harsh at all, Necaxa’s goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez looked to have hurt himself and was subbed out for Luis Malagon. Cruz Azul wasted a great chance when Carlos Rotondi had a wide open header, but sent it wide in a bad miss. Necaxa then wasted their chance when a cross into the area was just out of reach for Milton Gimenez. There was a halfway shot from Jesus Escoboza but that ball went wide before Malagon tried to come back to stop it. A cross into the area looked like it was a penalty after Escoboza was tripped in the area, but no foul was given. The first half ended with a low level of play as expected.
The second half started with Cruz Azul subbing out Jesus Corona and Ignacio Rivero for Andres Gudiño and Jaiber Jimenez. A great opportunity for Necaxa fell short when the ball was lowered in the area, but Fernando Madrigal whiffed on the shot. Cruz Azul subbed out Carlos Rotondi, Erik Lira, Jaiber Jimenez, and Emmanuel Gutierrez for Christian Jimenez, Louis Derbez, Marco Sanchez, and Jorge Garcia. Necaxa meanwhile subbed out Bryan Garnica and Agustin Olivares for Josue Dominguez and Edson Partida. A shot in the area was almost deflected into the path of a Necaxa attacker, but Gudiño got to the ball before any danger presented itself. Cruz Azul then subbed out Ramiro Funes Mori, Julio Cesar Dominguez, and Jose Martinez for Alan Zubiri, Rafael Baca, and Rafael Guerrero. Necaxa meanwhile subbed out Milton Gimenez and Fernando Madrigal for Ricardo Monreal and Waldo Madrid. A cross into the area found Facundo Batista, who from close range had a great chance but his header incredibly went wide. Then after a foul off a slide, Marco Sanchez was red carded, leaving Cruz Azul with 10 players. Necaxa went all out to take advantage of having one more player on the field, yet although they went for it the match still ended 0-0.
While it was expected that as the first match of the preseason tournament wasn’t going to have a great level of play, the display between Cruz Azul and Necaxa was even worse than expected. Still there was a lot of minutes given to youth players. With the news that teams won’t be able to play any new signings in the tournament, as according to FIFA rules the transfer season won’t officially open until January 4th, it means there might be a lot of opportunity to see some new players. Still it would be better if they played better, especially since Necaxa did so once Cruz Azul went down to 10 players but it was too little too late. Necaxa will now play on Thursday when America makes their debut in the tournament, while Cruz Azul will wait until Friday, when they face Pumas.