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Atlas move one step closer to the Bicampeonato with first leg win over Pachuca

Atlas gets in prime position to lift the title for the second season in a row with a 2-0 win over Pachuca in the first leg of the Final.

Atlas v Pachuca - Final Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Atlas started the 2022 Clausura Final with a 2-0 win at home in the first leg. It was a score that flattered the home team, as Pachuca had spells of domination and might have done enough for a tie, but a good defensive effort from Atlas has them in prime position to win their second title in as many seasons. Atlas now goes to Pachuca with a two goal cushion, as they try to become the third team to win a Bicampeonato since the short tournaments started after Pumas in 2004 and Leon in 2014.

The first half started with both teams having their best eleven, with Atlas even getting back Emanuel Aguilera, who left their semifinals because of injury. From the start, Pachuca went on the attack even when away. Soon Atlas started to counter, and the game turned into an even match with both teams having possession and going on the attack, but failing to create chances. After winning the ball, Pachuca almost had a good opportunity when a pass into the area was close to getting to Romario Ibarra, but Atlas goalkeeper Camilo Vargas was able to get to the ball. On the ensuing play, a good cross from Javier Abella into the area by Atlas was headed past Pachuca’s goalkeeper Oscar Ustari by a wide open Luis Reyes for the 1-0 lead. It was a great moment for Atlas and for Reyes, who for a second consecutive final series scored the opening goal. Pachuca came close to getting the tie when off of a three-on-three attack, Kevin Alvarez got a cross that was just out of reach for Nicolas Ibañez and Ibarra. Later, Aviles Hurtado made a great no look pass into the area but Erick Sanchez made a poor run and Vargas was able to get the ball off of his feet. Atlas answered with a great cross into the area by Reyes that was just out of reach of the head of Julio Furch. Later, Julian Quiñones got to a ball in the area and his shot was blocked by a great dive from Ustari. On the ensuing corner kick, Quiñones rose to head the ball and it just barely went wide. After a run, Alvarez tried a cross that turned into a shot that forced Vargas to make a good save. From outside the area, Edgar Zaldivar got off a low shot that forced Ustari to make a great save. After a ball was deflected to the path of Alvarez, he got off a great shot that forced Vargas to make an even better save before the ball was cleared by Hugo Nervo an instant before Ibañez could get a tap in goal. Then after that, a header into the area was headed by Victor Guzman for close range but Vargas came up big again. The halftime whistle blew and although the game had started slow, once it got going, it got going.

The second half started with Pachuca subbing out Romario Ibarra for Fernando Navarro. After the ball fell in the area, Anibal Chala headed the ball and then Furch got off a close range shot but it went wide. Later, Aldo Rocha got a ball from just outside the area but his shot also went just wide. Pachuca responded with the ball falling into the area and Ibañez getting off a left footed shot that hit the post. A cross into the area was headed by Guzman, but once again Vargas came up big. Later the ball got into the area and Alvarez had a great chance to score, but his shot went wide. Atlas subbbed out Emanuel Aguilera for Diego Barbosa. There was a scuffle that continued in front of the referee and because of it, Rocha and Gustavo Cabral would both get yellow cards. Atlas then subbed out injured Anderson Santamaria for Gaddi Aguirre. Later Pachuca subbed out Aviles Hurtado for Roberto de la Rosa. Pachuca had more possession in the second half, although the game wasn’t as open as in the first half. Atlas subbed out Julio Furch for Jeremy Marquez. Pachuca had some chances with Ibañez getting a shot blocked in the area and then a cross into the area being saved by Vargas. Pachuca then subbed out Victor Guzman for Jesus Hernandez. Then in injury time and against the run of play, Julian Quiñones stole the ball and got on a one-on-one, and with a left footed shot knocked it past Ustari for the 2-0 lead in the series. Atlas got a solid victory that maybe had a score that flattered them, but now they had a good advantage for the second leg.

Atlas got a key victory and are in a great position to get their second straight title. Pachuca had the possession, and at times looked to dominate the match in their search for the tying goal, but a great performance from goalkeeper Camilo Vargas and the great play by Julian Quiñones made the score a promising one for Atlas to get another title. Pachuca will be a tough foe at home though, and Atlas is just coming from a match in Monterrey in which they were minutes and a bad lineup from Miguel Herrera away from going out. At times, they lost possession in the second half and might be considered lucky to not have tied. Still it will be a very interesting match on Sunday and hopefully it will be as exciting as the first leg was.