Chivas finished their group stage in the Copa por Mexico in the best way possible, defeating their city rivals Atlas 1-0 in a Clasico Tapatio. Chivas won all four of their matches and will now play the final of the Copa por Mexico on Friday when they face Cruz Azul. Chivas will also have the added boost of hosting the final at home, after Estadio Jalisco will not be used because of the poor field conditions.
The first half started with Chivas coming out with a young lineup, resting some starters for the final on Friday. Atlas came out with a closer starting 11 to their normal squad, especially since it was their final match in the tournament. The match was very lively from the start, but it also had a lot of fouls. Off of a corner kick, Antonio Briseño rose to get a header that was deflected off an Atlas defender and then hit the post. There was some controversy when an Atlas’ player fell in the area, but no call was given. Pavel Perez then took a free kick and although it got dangerously deflected, the ball went wide. Then after a scramble in the area, Alan Torres made a great move to give himself space and got off a great shot that went past Atlas’ goalkeeper Camilo Vargas, hit the post, and went in for the 1-0 lead. While neither team had created much chances, Chivas had taken the lead which promised to improve the match. Atlas tried to answer with a long range shot from Brian Lozano that went just wide. The halftime whistle blew and Chivas had the lead in a very even match.
The second half started with Atlas subbing out Edison Flores for Jeremy Marquez while Chivas subbed out Luis Olivas for Hiram Mier. Atlas came close when Marquez got a shot and then Julio Furch got another one, but both were saved by Chivas’ goalkeeper Raul Rangel. Chivas came close off a corner kick when Briseño headed a ball that went just wide. Chivas subbed out injured Luis Puente and Jose Gonzalez for Santiago Ormeño and Isaac Brizuela. Atlas subbed out Alejandro Gomez and Julio Furch for Ozziel Herrera and Anibal Chala. After a long ball found Julian Quiñones in the area, he got off a right footed shot that was saved by Rangel. Chivas subbed out Pavel Perez and Sebastian Perez Bouquet for Fernando Beltran and Alejandro Mayorga. After a great combination play, Chala had a great opportunity in the area but his right footed shot went wide, missing a great chance. Atlas subbed out Javier Abella and Brian Lozano for Diego Barbosa and Cristopher Trejo. Atlas came close again when Hugo Nervo rose to get a header off a corner kick but Cristian Calderon made a great save by heading the ball close to the goal line and clearing it. Chivas subbed out Cristian Calderon, Ruben Gonzalez, and Alan Torres for Alexis Vega, Sergio Flores, and Gilberto Sepulveda. Atlas thencame close when a cross into the area almost found Quiñones but Rangel was able to get to it and deflect it before Chivas’ defense was able to clear the ball. Atlas kept pressuring Chivas and looking for the tying goal but Chivas was doing a good job cf defending. In the last minute, Beltran was given the time and space to get off a right footed shot from outside the area that hit the post. Atlas want back with a counter, but Chivas was able to clear the ball and get the victory.
This tournament has left Chivas fans very excited, and deservedly so. Chivas was by far the best team so far in the Copa por Mexico with four wins in four matches. They also closed it out in the best way possible, beating their rivals Atlas in a match in which even when resting some players they were the better team, getting a deserved victory. Chivas will be heavily favored in the final against Cruz Azul, especially with the news that their home stadium will be hosting the final after Estadio Jalisco’s poor field conditions meant the stadium would need to have their field worked on after a concert prior to the tournament severely damaged the pitch. Cruz Azul should be a tough test but right now Chivas has shown to be the better team. It would really be a boost to the team and especially new coach Veljko Paunovic, to start their season with a title.